Penshaw transport manager given suspended jail term after ‘catastrophic’ crash left bikers seriously hurt

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A TRANSPORT manager has been banned from driving after knocking down bikers in his sports car.

David Smith caused the “catastrophic” smash in his silver Porsche Boxster when he overtook a line of three cars.

The 52-year-old, from Baulkham Hills, Penshaw, clipped the back of a Seat at the front of the traffic as he pulled in to try and avoid a group of oncoming motorcyclists on the A689, near Wolsingham.

His vehicle then began to “fish tail” into the opposite carriageway, striking two of the bikers.

Durham Crown Court was told by Tony Davies, prosecuting, that the road had undergone resurfacing work earlier in the day, leaving lose chippings on the stretch, with warning signs and a 20mph advisory notice put on its verges.

As a result of the crash, one biker has lost the feeling in his right arm and is learning to walk again. He has undergone nine operations, with plates put into his arm and right leg and his hip replaced with a steel joint.

In a statement, he said he feels part of his “life, dignity and manhood” has been taken from him.

The other biker broke his right leg and damaged his knee, which required surgery, and has not ridden a bike since because of the shock.

Smith, who has picked up just one speeding fine in 30 years behind the wheel, admitted dangerous driving on August 22 last year.

Paul Caulfield, mitigating, said the crash had been “catastrophic”.

“He momentarily misjudged his position, which has resulted in the collision,” he said. “He works as a transport manager, employs 28 men and the livelihoods of 28 families depends on the outcome of this case today.

“The partners of the business say so in their response.”

He said Smith was remorseful and had saved £10,000 in compensation for the victims, with a further £10,000 quickly accessible.

He explained Smith cared for his elderly parents and is a father to three disadvantaged children, whom he and his wife had taken on from the local authority, and added the young boy who had been a passenger at the time of the crash was one of those they look after.

Mr Caulfield also stated a woman overturned her car on the same stretch earlier in the day, with the crash report attributing the loose chips as a factor.

He said this, along with a report by an independent accident investigator, would be considered when the case is dealt with in a civil court.

Recorder David Hatton sentenced Smith to five months, suspended for two years, 250 hours of unpaid work, a 9pm to 6am curfew for four months and told to pay a total of £20,000 in compensation.

He banned Smith from the roads for two years and ordered him to pass an extended test before he can drive again.

Twitter: @EchoEastDurham