Drink-driver nearly died of his injuries twice after horror smash

The scene of the crash in Houghton.
The scene of the crash in Houghton.

A baby girl could have been left orphaned after her “very stupid” parents were involved in a drink-drive car crash.

Daniel Smith, 24, and girlfriend Shannon Lock, 19, had been on a night out when they had a smash in October, Sunderland magistrates heard.

A damaged fence, pictured in the aftermath of the collision on Saturday night.

A damaged fence, pictured in the aftermath of the collision on Saturday night.

Smith was left fighting for his life and nearly died twice, the second time after contracting septicaemia as a result of his injuries.

The pair, both of Caroline Street, Hetton, have an 18-month-old daughter, the court heard. She was not in the car at the time of the horror smash.

Prosecutor John McGlone said the crash happened at 11.55pm, on October 24, after the pair had been out drinking in Sunderland.

Mr McGlone said that on their way home on the A690, Smith became convinced that a white van was following the Fiat Punto he was driving.

He’s had a lot of time to reflect on the consequences. His partner wasn’t seriously injured, but it could have been a lot worse. It could have been fatal for both of them. That would have left a young child without any parents. He knows that would have been an absolute travesty

Alan Cutting, probation officer

On arriving back at their home, Smith decided to turn around and pursue the van, the court heard.

“He left the road and collided with road furniture and a garden fence and his car came to a rest in a private garden on Hetton Road,” Mr McGlone said.

“The defendant was seriously injured and was taken to the RVI by ambulance.”

Blood was later taken from Smith and he was found to have 119mg of alcohol per 100ml of blood – the legal limit being 80.

Mr McGlone told the court that Lock is the owner and registered keeper of the vehicle.

Smith pleaded guilty to drink driving, careless driving, driving without insurance, driving otherwise than in accordance with a licence and using a car with a defective tyre.

Lock pleaded guilty to permitting a car to be used on a public road without insurance and permitting a car to be driven otherwise than in accordance with a licence.

Peter Hamill, defending, said: “It’s a very unfortunate set of events. When the defendant crashed it was a particularly serious crash for him, resulting in him staying in hospital for 13 weeks.

“He nearly lost his life twice, on one occasion, as a result of septicaemia. He is very fortunate to be alive today.

“Both were very stupid. The car belongs to Miss Lock, she is learning to drive. Mr Smith doesn’t have a licence.

“He’d had a couple of drinks during the night, he believes he had been spiked, but he is not seeking to put forward a special reasons argument.

“He is aware of his stupidity. They have a one-and-a-half-year-old child. Mr Smith is a more familiar visitor to the court, but since the birth of this child, there has been no more driving offences.

“He has paid a very heavy price for what happened. He has showed me scars on his body and is still taking a lot of drugs, and is constantly to and from hospital.”

Probation officer Alan Cutting, who prepared report on Smith, said: “He was significantly injured after the crash. He is very sorry for what he’s done. He describes it as stupid and reckless.

“He’s had a lot of time to reflect on the consequences. His partner wasn’t seriously injured, but it could have been a lot worse.

“It could have been fatal for both of them. That would have left a young child without any parents. He knows that would have been an absolute travesty. He nearly died at the end of the day, he’s had a massive wake-up call.”

Smith was sentenced to a four-month community order with a tagged curfew between 7pm and 7am. He was banned from driving for 16 months and was told to pay £85 costs and £60 victim surcharge. Lock was fined £125, with £85 costs and £20 victim surcharge, She was given six points on her licence.