Driver jailed for Ashford brain damage crash

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Patricia Ireland
Image caption,
Patricia Ireland suffered permanent brain damage when Jonathan Ellis' car hit her Jaguar head on

A driver who left a woman with permanent brain damage has been jailed for two years.

Jonathan Ellis, 25, of Front Road, Woodchurch had admitted causing serious injury by dangerous driving.

Patricia Ireland, 59, was driving on Trinity Road, Ashford when Ellis' car hit her Jaguar while he was on the wrong side of the road, police said.

"I just lost my life, it's changed my life, and I wish he could understand what he's done," Mrs Ireland said.

'Virtually scalped'

Ellis pleaded guilty to the offence at Canterbury Crown Court in August and was sentenced earlier.

The judge also banned him from driving for eight years.

Image caption,
Jonathan Ellis was jailed for two years and banned from driving for eight years

Passengers in Ellis' car told the court he had been racing his Nissan Almera car.

He had lost control before hitting Mrs Ireland as she was driving her car in the opposite direction on 29 December, the court heard.

Emergency services took two hours to free her from her car, Kent Police said.

Mrs Ireland was in hospital for 16 days recovering from a fractured ankle, two skull fractures, brain damage and two broken vertebrae in her neck, police said.

She has since been diagnosed with post traumatic stress disorder.

"She had been virtually scalped," a Kent Police spokesman said.

Mrs Ireland told the court that her grandchildren had lost the grandmother they had had before, and her husband had lost the wife he had had for 42 years.

She been unable to work since the crash and lost her registration to run the St Valery care home in Ashford which she set up 22 years ago.

Ellis is the first person in Kent to have been found guilty of the offence of causing serious injury by dangerous driving since it was introduced in December.

Sentencing him, Judge Nigel Van Der Bijl said: "People ought to realise that when they are driving a car they are driving something that can kill."

PC Stephen Wade from Kent Police, said: "The result will serve as a warning to other drivers that if you drive in that sort of fashion the penalties are going to be severe."

"He's been punished. He got more than I thought he would get," Mrs Ireland said.

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