Student ploughs his Mercedes into mother at 68mph because he was 10 minutes late for college
Matthew Stark, 20, had overslept by 30 minutes and was speeding along a country road when he smashed into the side of a Mini Clubman being driven by Adrienne Cave
A student who left a mum with horrific injuries after he ploughed his Mercedes into her at almost 70mph because he was 10 minutes late for college has been jailed. Matthew Stark, 20, had overslept by 30 minutes and was speeding along a country road when he smashed into the side of a Mini Clubman being driven by Adrienne Cave. Mrs Cave, 52, and her daughter Naomi, 17, who was in the passenger seat, were shunted 125ft (38m) down the road by the impact of the crash. The mum-of-two was airlifted to hospital with life-threatening injuries while her daughter suffered a smashed pelvis and a punctured lung.
As a result of the crash, Mrs Cave, a pediatric speech therapist, suffered injuries to her throat and neck which has left her unable to talk and struggles to walk.
On Wednesday, July 11, Stark, of Claverdon, Warks., was jailed for two years after he admitted two charges of causing serious injury by dangerous driving at Warwick Crown Court.
Judge Sylvia de Bertodano told him: "You left home running late, having overslept, for your college course, and you were traveling in your blue Mercedes towards Henley-in-Arden driving well in excess of the speed limit. At the same time, leaving her home was Adrienne Cave with her daughter.
"They turned right onto the same road, and because you were driving so fast, they didn’t see you. You weren’t able to stop when you saw them in your path, and you collided into the side of their small car with such force that you pushed it 38 meters down the road.
“As a result, Adrienne Cave suffered very serious injuries – and it is by the merest good fortune and the very hard work of the emergency services that she wasn’t killed. This is a lady who was a highly specialist pediatric speech and language therapist and, more importantly, the mother of two daughters and a loving wife. Out of nowhere, the lynchpin of their family was swept away into a new life of hospital treatment and therapy.
"Her most significant injuries are to her vocal cords and her breathing. It is impossible to imagine she will ever fully recover. You are a young man of positive good character, and these cases are the most tragic in many ways that I deal with, because they involve people who went out that morning without any intention to harm anyone.”
The court heard Stark careered into Mrs Cave at around 7.30am on October 31 last year while travelling at 68mph in a 40mph zone on Henley Road, in Claverdon, Warwick.
Prosecutor Daniel Wright said: “He was doing ‘well in excess of the speed limit. At the same time Adrienne Cave began to pull out of the drive of her home in Henley Road to make a right turn in her Mini Clubman, with her daughter Naomi in the passenger seat.
Stark’s Mercedes, which was estimated to have been doing 68mph at the moment of impact, ploughed into the side of the Mini, shunting it 38 metres down the road and causing massive intrusion into the driver’s compartment.”
Mr Wright said doctors warned Mrs Cave’s husband Tony, 50, she was unlikely to survive.
She was kept in hospital for four months, spending the first 23 days in intensive care and the next 24 on a neuro-science ward, and had a halo cage attached to her head for 12 weeks. Since being discharged from hospital, Mrs Cave has been left unable to talk and has problems with her balance, eyesight and eating.
Tom Gent, defending, said Stark had overslept and had left home 10 minutes late for his drive to college in Birmingham, which would normally take him about 40 minutes. He said: “He accepts that in the approach to the point of impact he drove at more than 20mph over the speed limit, which means he must have been driving at 70. He braked, as best he can recall, a split second before impact.
“He accepts that, driving at that speed, the available view he had was not sufficient for him to take avoiding action. Of course it has had terrible consequences which will be far-reaching and will live with him for ever. He is a hard-working young man of good background, a thoughtful and kind young man who has shown a real talent for engineering. He is full of remorse, and has written a heartfelt letter to Mrs Cave.”