An RAF engineer from Lincoln has spoken of his disappointment after a pensioner who nearly killed him when she fell asleep at the wheel of her Mercedes car was spared jail by a judge.
Karl Hargreaves was left fighting for his life when Mary Crofts, 69, smashed in to his motorcycle just hours after flying back from a holiday to Gran Canaria. He now wants to raise awareness of motorists driving while tired.
Lincoln Crown Court heard Crofts veered on to the wrong side of the road and caused a five vehicle collision after grabbing just a “small amount” of sleep following her return from the Spanish island.
But a judge took the “exceptional course” of passing a suspended prison sentence on Crofts after hearing she was of positive good character and had admitted her guilt.
Crofts, who runs a ship fending business in Billingford, Norfolk, was sentenced to six months imprisonment suspended for two years, a two month night time curfew and banned from driving for three years. She was must also take an extended retest and pay £530 court costs.
Speaking after the hearing Mr Hargreaves, who was based at RAF Waddington, near Lincoln, said: “It is difficult to put into words the impact that this accident has had on my life and I am quite shocked that the driver’s previous good character enabled her to escape prison. She consciously made the decision to drive, knowing the impact that it could have, and in doing so has completely changed my life in every conceivable way.
“As an Engineer and biker, I led a very full and active life, and that was taken away in a matter of minutes by one irresponsible decision. I feel quite bitter about the whole experience, but I’m grateful of support from Minster Law and what it has enabled me to achieve in terms of recovery. It’s really important that drivers understand the damage that they can do by getting behind the wheel tired and once it’s done the impact cannot be reversed.”
Minster Law Solicitor, David Sears, acting on behalf of Mr Hargreaves said: “This is another case that highlights the vulnerability of bikers on UK roads and demonstrates the impact of irresponsible driving decisions.
“We’re pleased to have been able to support Karl through his recovery and will continue to do so.”