Dangerous driver who left man with ‘life-changing’ injuries is jailed

Dangerous driver who left man with ‘life-changing’ injuries is jailed

by Danielle Thompson (April 2021)

A “show off” young motorist travelling at almost 80mph along a residential Merseyside street ploughed into another car causing “an explosion”.

 The high speed impact, which left the other driver, Ryan Woods, with life threatening injuries, resulted in flying debris narrowly missing by-standers as the vehicles were hurtled spinning a further 50 metres.

 The Seat Cupra Leon driven by Garry Dowling, from Litherland,  ended up embedded in a wall by a busy chip shop leaving two women nearby screaming in terror.

 Dowling, a scaffolder, who walked away from the devastation virtually unscathed, was jailed for 18 months and banned from the road for four years nine months.

 “This was highly dangerous driving, albeit over a short distance, and over that short distance you displayed total disregard for the safety of other road users and pedestrians including your two passengers,” said Judge Clement Goldstone, QC.

 “The evidence in my judgement is aggravated by the desire on your part to show off to your friends as you admitted to the author of a pre-sentence report. The fact you made such an admission is to your credit as is the fact that you admitted that this accident and Mr Woods’ injuries were solely your responsibility.”

 He pointed out that Mr Woods’ injuries “were life changing and initially life threatening.” He has had to undergo three operations and is still awaiting further major surgery.

 The 28-year-old victim, whose distraught parents were initially told there was only a 50-50- chance  of his survival, used to work out in a gym four or five days a week and play football.

 But now 17 months later he can only get limited exercise and is awaiting surgery to reverse the colostomy operation he had to undergo after injuries to his small and large bowel.

 Dowling, 29, of Ford Lane, Litherland,  pleaded guilty to causing serious injury by dangerous driving.  

 Liverpool Crown Court heard that he has previous convictions including driving without due care and attention, failing to stop after an accident and failing to report it in October 2016.

 Trevor Parry-Jones, prosecuting, said that mid-evening on November 12, 2019 Mr Woods was driving his Ford Fiesta along Marsh Lane, Bootle, after having visited a nearby shop. The roads were damp and traffic light as he was waiting to turn right into Irlam Road.

 He recollected later that he did not see any headlights approaching and slowly began to make the right turn. “He then saw headlights coming at him very quickly. He panicked at how fast the car was going and braked immediately coming to stop and then were was a collision.”

 Mr Parry-Jones said: “The impact was akin to an explosion.”

 Both vehicles were spun around and debris from them flew into the air while the vehicles travelled about 40 - 50 metres in the same direction before Dowling’s car crashed into a wall by a chip shop.

 “It is good fortune that people in the vicinity were not hit by the spinning vehicles or the debris,” he added.

 CCTV footage from outside the nearby Salisbury public house was played to the court showing people outside the premises, including at one stage a child on a scooter, and customers going into the chippy.

 The engine and gearbox of Mr Wood’s Fiesta was pushed into the passenger compartment and he was rushed by ambulance to Aintree Hospital where a CT scan revealed fluid in his abdomen and a fractured left side pelvis.

 He underwent emergency surgery to remove part of his small bowel and colon and was taken to the critical care ward. He had to undergo further surgery the next day when a further segment of his colon had to be removed and a colostomy was performed.

 On November 16 after complaining of abdominal pain he was again taken to theatre with sepsis for further surgery and he continued to recover slowly until his release on November 29.

 Expert police analysis revealed that Dowling’s car had been travelling at between 73 - 77 mph, which was two and a half times the 30 mph speed limit.

 Mr Parry-Jones said that David Howard, who was smoking with a friend outside the Salisbury pub, saw the Seat overtake a BMW on Marsh Lane and then hit a speed bump nearly losing control.  

 He commented to his companion that “it looked very fast” and then saw a “massive crash” with the Fiesta. Some debris hit the wall behind him and two women by the chippy were screaming. He noted that the Cupra had been approaching a zebra crossing though luckily no one was crossing.

 His companion, Andrew Ross, said he heard Mr Howard say, “Look at the speed of this idiot.” He turned around and witnessed the crash. “He was convinced the driver of the Fiesta would be dead.”

 In an impact statement Mr Woods said that following his release from hospital his mum had to take a considerable time of work to care for him helped by his dad. “It put a lot of stress and press

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