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Teen jailed for causing horror Carlisle crash which left two pedestrians badly hurt

Owen Luke Brown

A SPEEDING teen motorist who caused a horror Saturday night crash in central Carlisle which left two pedestrians badly hurt has been jailed.

Owen Luke Brown, 19, was haring down Botchergate at between 48 and 54 mph in his Ford Fiesta when he crashed into a turning taxi and veered into unsuspecting pedestrians and customers outside the popular Border Rambler pub at around 7pm on September 15 last year.

The sickening impact was captured on CCTV and seen by shocked bystanders who rushed to help. Moments before the collision, Brown sounded his horn in frustration at a couple who had to take evasive action while crossing the city’s busiest street, which has a 30mph limit and was lined with revellers.

Two friends stood outside the Border Rambler, Glenn O’Fee and Adam Bunting, sustained serious and life-changing injuries in the shocking collision, while Mr Bunting’s partner was one of five other people also knocked over and hurt.

Mr Bunting suffered two fractured vertebrae in his lower back, a fractured cheekbone and eyesocket, a bleed on the brain and significant cuts and bruises. The court heard he faced a “long road to recovery”. Mr O’Fee suffered a serious leg fracture, underwent major surgery, was immobilised for three months and had since been diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder.

Prosecutor Kim Whittlestone told Carlisle Crown Court this morning (FRI) of the impact on those affected: “A common theme from all the people is the anxiety and distress that has been caused by this incident, which has left them with scars.”

Brown, of Dalston Road, Carlisle, admitted causing serious injury to both Mr O’Fee and Mr Bunting by dangerous driving at a time when he was aged just 18.

Experienced 57-year-old taxi driver Stephen Reay, of Cumwhinton, near Carlisle, admitted careless driving following his “momentary lapse” behind the wheel of his Skoda Octavia. Both men of previous good character, they were sentenced today.

Brown was described as “profoundly sorry” for the “carnage” caused, said Paul Tweddle, defending, who added: “It was not a deliberate act. It was an act of stupidity. There was no malice – simply a high level of folly and irresponsibility.”

Brown wept in the dock as he was given an immediate 29-month custodial sentence, and banned from driving for 56 months.

“You must have been aware that you were grossly exceeding the speed limit for the circumstances in which you found yourself,” Judge Nicholas Barker told the teen. “But for your excessive speed, the collision would not have occurred.” Judge Barker added: “You ignored your responsibility that night and the consequences were appalling and very significant because of your driving.”

Reay was fined £400 and given six penalty points.

Inspector Steve Minnikin said: “This was a nasty collision which could easily have resulted in loss of life. The people outside the Border Rambler had no chance to get out of the way and no way of knowing what was about to happen until they had been struck.

“Whilst both drivers may believe the other was more responsible for what occurred that day, the court has found that they were each culpable to different degrees and the collision could have been avoided through more careful and considerate driving. This goes to show that not every case is straightforward. The balance of ‘blame’ can vary and highlights how we all have a responsibility for the safety of all users of the road including each other.

“Finally, I would like to take this opportunity to thank those members of the public who came to the aid of the injured bystanders. The scene would undoubtedly have been a shocking one to witness but there were members of the public who reacted calmly and effectively to help those who needed it in that moment.”

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