The victim pleaded with Samuel Berrisford, 22, to slow down before the car crash near Congleton in Cheshire left her in hospital for more than two weeks and needing surgery
A ‘cowardly’ drink-driver left a woman in the passenger seat with severe injuries when he crashed into a wall and fled the scene.
Samuel Berrisford, 22, had been out drinking and playing pool with the 37-year-old victim in Sandbach in Cheshire on the night of May 13 last year before getting behind the wheel. He then began driving the pair back to the nearby Biddulph area in Staffordshire in a black Audi A4.
The woman told Berrisford that he was ‘driving too fast’. She told the court that the car felt like it was ‘floating’ and ‘bouncing over speed bumps’ as she urged him to slow down. She remembered Berrisford telling her: “We are going to crash, lean back,” before the vehicle was ploughed into a wall on Child’s Lane, Brownlow, near Congleton.
Berrisford got out of the car and asked the victim if she was okay and tried to move her. A woman who had heard the impact came out of a nearby property, but as she approached the Audi, Berrisford ran from the scene, leaving the victim severely injured.
She suffered serious injuries and was taken to hospital, where she remained for two-and-a-half weeks. She underwent surgery to stabilise fractures to her spine and repair a perforated bowel, among other injuries. At around 10.35pm that evening, Cheshire Police received a report of the one-vehicle collision from the ambulance service and attended the scene.
Officers carried out a search of the area for Berrisford and he was subsequently located and arrested. A blood sample was taken which showed he had been driving above the legal limit for alcohol, with 115 milligrams of alcohol per 100 millilitres of blood. The legal limit is 80 milligrams.
Berrisford, of Mayfield Road, Biddulph, pleaded guilty to causing serious injury by dangerous driving, drink driving and failing to stop after a collision at Warrington Magistrates’ Court on January 8, reported Manchester Evening News. He appeared at Chester Crown Court on February 8 where he was jailed for three years and given a four-year driving ban which begins once he is released from prison.
Following the sentence, Sergeant Jackie Cantrell said: “I am grateful for the sentence handed to Berrisford, who not only caused a serious collision but made the cowardly decision to flee the scene and leave the victim alone with severe injuries. She required surgery and weeks in hospital, and although nothing will ever make her forget the traumatic events of that night, I hope the fact that Berrisford is now being held accountable for his actions will provide some closure.
“If any good can come out of this case, I hope it sends a stark warning to those who think they can treat the roads like a playground. Driving is a privilege, not a right. Careless and dangerous driving can have disastrous consequences and it is not worth ruining your life and others’.”