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Pregnant woman left in wheelchair with brain injury after texting truck-driver crashed into her car and killed her unborn baby

A pregnant woman was left in a wheelchair with a ‘significant’ brain injury after a horror crash crash[1] caused by a texting truck driver. Helena Cartlidge also lost her unborn baby in the devastating smash. She has spoken of her devastation after Stoke-on-Trent Crown Court[2] heard a trucker – 29-year-old Samuel Bailey – had sent a text message just before the collision – and he had been handed a fixed-penalty notice for driving a lorry while on his mobile just five months earlier.

The 43-year-old spent 11-and-a-half weeks in hospital after the A500 smash and has undergone 13 operations, the Stoke Sentinel reports.[3] She is now facing at least four more operations after a lorry smashed into the back of her stationary car near the Etruria junction, Stoke on Trent, in February. The mother-of-one – who works at The Sentinel – has hit out at Bailey’s driving.

Bailey was jailed for 40 months and handed a six-year driving ban

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The court heard Bailey’s lorry crashed into Helena’s Vauxhall Astra at up to 55mph and her vehicle became trapped underneath a fork-lift truck which was on the back of an HGV.

Helena, of Stoke, told The Sentinel: “I just can’t believe he has previous and not learnt from that. “I have had 13 operations and at least another four to come. It has devastated my whole family.

I have got a significant brain injury. “I relive it every day. My son was not able to be with me for 11-and-a-half weeks while I was in hospital.

“My main focus is to get myself better and to be a mum to my little boy and a wife to my husband.”

Helena was left with life changing injuries Helena spent weeks in hospital

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The court heard Bailey, of Tunstall, failed to see the stationary traffic on the A500. Prosecutor Walter Bealby said: “He sent a text at 1.49.09 which said, ‘You OK. How are you doing’?

“At 1.50.31 the DAF lorry started to veer towards the central reservation. It does seem pretty conclusive that the defendant was on his mobile texting just prior to the incident.” Mr Bealby added: “The victim has a flashback of looking in her rear view mirror and seeing a lorry approaching from behind and she remembers thinking, ‘Oh my God, that is not going to stop’.”

Stuart Muldoon, mitigating, said the defendant was not affected by drink or drugs.

Helena Cartlidge with husband Roger and their son Benjamin

He said: “He is extremely remorseful and ashamed. He asks me to say to the court and the victims how sorry he is for what happened. “He knows the victims will carry what happened for the rest of their lives.

He too will carry his guilt and his shame for the rest of his life. He will go to prison, serve his sentence. He will still have the images in his head for the future.”

The defendant admitted causing serious injury by dangerous driving. He was jailed for 40 months and handed a six-year driving ban.

Emergency services at the scene following the accident earlier this year

Judge Paul Glenn said: “This is not a case of a momentary lack of concentration. “The consequences of your driving have been appalling.

My heart goes out to Helena Cartlidge. She was 28 weeks pregnant and lost the daughter she was carrying. “She had widespread and significant injuries.

It has affected every aspect of her life. Put bluntly, you have ruined the lives of that family.” He added: “You totally disregarded the danger you were potentially creating for others.

The consequences you have caused Mrs Cartlidge are life-changing.

It is miraculous that she survived.”

References

  1. ^ crash (www.mirror.co.uk)
  2. ^ Court (www.mirror.co.uk)
  3. ^ the Stoke Sentinel reports. (www.stokesentinel.co.uk)



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