Suspended sentence for driver who caused horror smash

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A VAN driver whose dangerous driving caused a crash in which a farmer suffered life-threatening injuries has been given a suspended jail sentence.

Graeme Blair (28) lost control of his vehicle while driving over a humpbacked bridge too quickly and collided with a small van being driven by 76-year-old Alan Hinch, Leicester Crown Court heard yesterday (Monday).

Mr Hinch suffered serious injuries in the crash on the B664 near Medbourne on September 5 last year.

Blair, of Cedar Road, Kettering, admitted dangerous driving and received a four-month jail sentence, suspended for 12 months.

He was also fined £2,000 and banned from driving for 18 months.

The court heard how Mr Hinch was driving behind a Peugeot car, approaching a humpbacked bridge while Blair was travelling in the opposite direction at about 60 mph - too fast to negotiate the hazard.

The van, belonging to Anglian Water, became airborne as Blair lost control and collided with the Peugeot and Mr Hinch’s small van.

Mr Hinch suffered seven fractures in his right leg, multiple fractures to his hip, pelvis and lower spine, as well as a collapsed lung.

Blair, who is said to be wracked with guilt about Mr Hinch’s injuries, assisted at the scene and co-operated with the police, the court heard.

Sarah O’Kane, mitigating, said Blair, who had been driving for Anglian Water for seven years, had a clean licence and no previous convictions.

She said he made a ‘terrible misjudgement’ which has ‘weighed extremely heavily on him’ and was deeply sorry for the injuries caused to Mr Hinch.