Hor­ror crash driver is spared jail

Kentish Express Ashford & District - - Front Page - By Paul Hooper

A cou­ple were trapped in their burn­ing Mini af­ter an ac­ci­dent on the A28 Ash­ford Road – caused by a “stupid” mis­take by another driver.

But the woman who was re­spon­si­ble for the hor­rific smash has avoided go­ing to prison ... be­cause she has three chil­dren.

Sa­man­tha Sharp, 29, was at the wheel of her sil­ver Vaux­hall As­tra in Sha­dox­hurst when she pulled out in front of an on­com­ing Mini.

The ter­ri­fied vic­tims, Carol and Mark Web­ster, from Bethers­den were trapped in their ve­hi­cle which caught fire.

Can­ter­bury Crown Court heard that a pass­ing mo­tor cy­clist, us­ing an ex­tin­guisher, put out the flames – but Mrs Web­ster, 45, was trapped for 35 min­utes un­til she was cut free from the wreck­age.

The cou­ple both re­ceived se­ri­ous in­juries and were taken to hos­pi­tal for treat­ment.

Mother- of- three Sharp, of Banks Road, Ash­ford pleaded guilty to driv­ing dan­ger­ously in June last year and was banned from driv­ing for two years.

But her two year jail sen­tence was sus­pended for two years af­ter a judge told her: “You car­ried out the most stupid of ma­noeu­vres. I don’t see how your un­planned and mo­men­tary crim­i­nal­ity should af­fect your three chil­dren.

“Had you not been a mother I would have sen­tenced you to Can­ter­bury Crown Court an im­me­di­ate term of im­pris­on­ment,” said Recorder Jason Dunn-Shaw.

Pros­e­cu­tor Alexan­der Gould­ing told how Sharp ap­proached a junction at Bethers­den Road to turn right but didn’t slow down suf­fi­ciently be­fore go­ing into the road.

“The car in front of her ve­hi­cle may well have af­fected the view she had of on­com­ing traf­fic. Even her pas­sen­ger com­mented she hadn’t slowed down suf­fi­ciently be­fore turn­ing in front of the Mini,” he added.

Mini car driver Carol Web­ster said, in a state­ment read to the court: “It’s more than a year since the crash and I thought I would have put all this into the past by now. But ev­ery day I have sev­eral re­minders, the scars but much worse than that is the phys­i­cal pain .

“I still, fool­ishly, long for the day, when I have no pain.”

Her hus­band added: “The crash was scary to say the least. We were go­ing at 50mph in our beloved clas­sic Mini.

“I saw a car turn right across the road and it was ob­vi­ous a ma­jor col­li­sion was about to hap­pen and I closed my eyes.

“When I opened them, my first feel­ings were of re­lief that we were both still alive. I had bro­ken my wrist and was trapped by my seat­belt.

“Carol was in a much worse state. I could see her leg was bro­ken and she was bleed­ing from her head, plus she was com­pletely trapped in the car.

“For 35 min­utes we were trapped in the car await­ing the emer­gency ser­vices. It could have been much worse but for the in­ter­ven­tion of peo­ple who stopped to help.

“A mo­tor cy­clist man­aged to get hold of a fire ex­tin­guisher when flames ap­peared at the front of the car. I still re­mem­ber the panic in Carol’s voice.”

Peter Al­cock, de­fend­ing, said it had been a “mo­men­tary lapse” by Sharp for which is now re­morse­ful.

The judge told her: “No sen­tence I pass can put the clocks back or put right the dam­age you did.”

He then praised the vic­tims for their dig­nity.

Emer­gency ser­vices at the scene of the ac­ci­dent on the A28 near Sha­dox­hurst

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