Horror crash driver is spared jail
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