Learner driver crashes car while making video call
A 19-year-old woman in North Lincolnshire has been sentenced to 18 months lockup after she crashed her car whilst making a two minute Facebook Messenger video call. The learner driver only had a provisional licence when she crashed into a wall without even braking and caused 'catastrophic' injuries to two passengers in her Ford Ka.
Grimsby Crown Court heard that Danielle Cooper, who works as a hairdresser, was 'engrossed' in her mobile phone when the accident occurred and it was a miracle that no one died, according to Daily Mail. Cooper's half-sister suffered life-threatening and life-changing injuries while her male friend was also badly hurt in the crash that occurred last year on August 20, the court heard. The two passengers in the back seat were not wearing seatbelts.
Cooper had been socialising in Epworth and had made hundreds of calls and messages, mainly to a 40-year-old man. She drove to a petrol station where she made the video call and stalled the car as well as initially having no lights on. She madea Facebook Messenger video call to the man while leaving the petrol station and it lasted two minutes and 11 seconds before it was 'suddenly and abruptly cut off'. The court heard she was driving on the A161 from Belton to Epworth at 12.50am when she lost control on a right-hand bend on the outskirts of Belton.
Cooper's half-sister, a nurse, suffered fractures to the base of the neck, spine, ribs and jaw as well as lacerations to her forehead, temple and hand. She suffered lung problems and, on August 27, her heart stopped and she had to be resuscitated.
The next day, she needed a tracheotomy to help her breathing. She was intensive care for 19 days before transferring to a trauma ward from where she was sent to a Sheffield rehabilitation unit on September 13. "She has no memory of the incident and the weeks leading up to it," said a prosecutor. While, the male passenger suffered a fractured ankle and hip, vertebrae damage, a scalp laceration and abrasions to his knees and legs. He was discharged on August 23 last year but was diagnosed with post traumatic stress disorder and could not resume work as a delivery driver.
While, Cooper suffered a broken chestbone, a ruptured spleen and breaks to her back, shoulders, wrists and six ribs. Judge David Tremberg said, "If ever there was a driver who ought to have been paying full attention to their driving, it was you," adding that she had been 'persistently and continuously distracted' by her phone. He added that a competent driver paying attention would have negotiated the bend with ease and avoided 'impending disaster'.
Tremberg added, "The victims' lives have been turned upside down. It's a matter of pure chance that you didn't end up killing somebody."