A motorist high on cocaine, who is now wheelchair-bound after crashing head-on into a 7.5 ton lorry while four times the drug limit, received a suspended prison sentence yesterday.
Duane Brown, 38, arrived at Kingston-upon-Thames Crown Court in a wheelchair as he continues to recover from a double hip break and multiple compound fractures to his left leg.
“You took an unacceptable risk that morning, you took the most stupid decision of your life the morning after going out and taking a highly-addictive drug in cocaine,” Judge Judith Coello told him.
“You placed members of the public at a high risk and must thank your lucky stars you’re still here and that nobody lost their life that morning.”
Father-of-two Brown, of Haycroft Road, Surbiton pleaded guilty to driving his BMW dangerously and with excess cocaine in his blood on September 17, last year in Leatherhead Road, Chessington.
He received ten months imprisonment, suspended for two years and was disqualified from driving for three years.
As an extra punishment the court ordered him to obey an untagged night time curfew between 10pm and 6am for the next three months.
Builder Brown has previous convictions for driving while disqualified and without insurance and supplying amphetamine.
The first police officer on the scene said the inside of his BMW smelled strongly of alcohol and traces of morphine and ketamine were in his blood, but may these may have been medicinal.
The busy road was closed for over eight hours and Brown, who has had fourteen operations, skin grafts, plus treatment for nerve damage in his arm was cut from his wrecked car and airlifted to St. George’s Hospital.
Prosecutor Miss Moya Reed told the court it was 8.30am when a witness driving behind Brown’s black BMW saw him “driving erratically” and on the wrong side of the road.
Brown lied to police the car in front of him stopped suddenly, forcing the reckless overtaking manoeuvre, which resulted in the huge crash with the Champion Timber lorry.
Police also recovered a small snap-bag of cocaine from the car.
“He’s expressed a great deal of remorse and is grateful that no-one else was injured,” said Mr. Shane Hauschild, defending. “Seeing the photographs I’m surprised he is alive.
“He puts his hands up and admits it was a risk he should not have taken and it is unclear if he will ever fully recover.
“He was socialising with friends and using cocaine the night before. a decision he’s going to regret and that will impact him for the rest of his life.”
Brown faces at least another three month in the wheelchair before he can begin attempting to walk.
“You drove erratically along that road. I do not accept a car stopped in front of you,” Judge Coello told him. “You veered onto the wrong side of the road and collided head-on with the timber lorry.
“You caused great shock and stress, not only to the lorry driver, but other witnesses. You know you have only got yourself to blame for your injuries.
“It is going to take you a very long time to get over this, if you ever will. If you were to go to prison you would find the conditions there very difficult in your current circumstances.”
Brown was also ordered to pay a £140 victim surcharge and retake his test before he is allowed to drive again.