‘Foolish’ and ‘irresponsible’ drink-driver crashed into oncoming lorry and car in East Yorkshire

A "very stupid and foolish" drink-driver crashed her car into an oncoming HGV lorry - and then smashed head-on into a car behind it - after she drove in an "utterly atrocious" way on the wrong side of the road at 1am. The "irresponsible behaviour" by Katie Jennings later had "dire consequences" for the other two motorists, especially the car driver, who suffered a broken breastbone that had changed his whole life and left him suffering "flashbacks every night". He suffered "no end of problems" because of the "appalling" crash and the lorry driver was just glad that nobody was killed in the horrific accident, Hull Crown Court[1] heard.

Jennings, 43, of Pavilion Close, Pocklington, admitted causing serious injury to the other car driver by dangerous driving and an offence of drink-driving on July 2 last year. Annabelle Coakley, prosecuting, said that Jennings was driving a silver Audi on the A165 westbound from Carnaby towards Bridlington[2] in a 40mph limit at 1am. She was on the wrong side of the road and she had the car's full beam headlights on, causing the driver of an HGV lorry heading eastbound to flash his headlights.

Jennings continued to drive on the wrong side of the road, forcing the lorry driver to take evasive action and pull off the road. The Audi collided with the rear driver's side of the lorry. Jennings continued driving and collided with a Kia Sportage driven by a man who had been behind the HGV.

The air bags went off and there was debris on the road from the vehicles. The Audi suffered significant damage to its driver's side. Jennings had not made any attempt to move to the correct side of the road. "Smoke was coming from her vehicle," said Miss Coakley.

Because of the way that Jennings had been driving, the police were alerted. She got into the other car driver's vehicle unprompted but he asked her if she could get out because he was worried that there might be another collision. She was slumped and was slurring her speech.

She pretended that her boyfriend had been driving but he was not even there. She said after the emergency services arrived: "You have got to tell me if I have killed someone."

Katie Jennings, pictured outside Hull Crown CourtKatie Jennings, pictured outside Hull Crown Court

Jennings had slurred speech and she was unsteady on her feet. She smelled of alcohol and gave a positive roadside breath test.

A blood test later revealed that she had 190mg of alcohol in 100ml of blood. The legal limit is 80mg. She was taken to hospital.

The car driver was taken to Scarborough General Hospital and he was found to have a broken breastbone. He suffered pain in his shoulder and back and he was prescribed pain relief. Surgery was not possible and he was told that he would have to wait for the break to repair itself.

He later said that he suffered "no end of problems" and he was "still feeling it" because of pain. "From the waist up, my body feels banged up," he said. "I still have problems breathing. I had to cancel a holiday with my wife to the Lake District.

"I used to be a keen drummer, which I can't do. I am stuck indoors. I am certainly starting to feel fed up.

I am not depressed, I am so frustrated. "I have flashbacks every night. I feel emotional.

I feel upset. I certainly feel anger towards her. It's a shame she couldn't just feel some of the things that I feel.

I now feel a burden on everyone else around me. "My whole life has changed because of her." The man had only had the Kia four months at the time. The HGV driver went to St James's Hospital, Leeds, and he was diagnosed with neck strain.

He later said that, since the accident, he had struggled with sleeping and, most nights, he woke up playing out scenarios, including 'What if this had happened?' and 'What if that had happened?'. "I am having flashbacks of the night," he said. He had been referred to a mental health team and he had been affected financially as he had received only statutory sick pay.

"I got myself in debt due to borrowing money to pay my bills," is said. "This has massively affected me and I have been unable to do the things I used to do. I used to enjoy going to the gym. "I think she is a very stupid and foolish person.

That evening, she chose to think about herself and no one else. I just thank God no one was killed." Emma Kutner, mitigating, said: "This is undoubtedly an utterly atrocious piece of driving and she is the first to admit that.

Her appalling decisions could have led to the deaths of innocent road users. "Her remorse is deep and it is genuine. This is very much out of character." Jennings pleaded guilty and she had exceptional victim awareness that was "quite unique".

Jennings had stopped drinking alcohol straight after the accident and she had been attending Alcoholics Anonymous. Jennings was a family woman and a mother. She worked for a charitable trust and she had no previous convictions.

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Recorder David Kelly said that it was "atrocious driving and irresponsible behaviour" and this had "dire consequences" for the HGV driver and the car driver following it. There had been a "very serious impact" on the car driver over his family and his life. The HGV driver had suffered serious financial loss and he was not able to enjoy life.

Jennings was given a two-year suspended prison sentence and 120 hours' unpaid work.

She was banned from driving for three years and she was ordered to pay GBP425 costs.


  1. ^ Hull Crown Court (www.hulldailymail.co.uk)
  2. ^ Bridlington (www.hulldailymail.co.uk)
  3. ^ here (bit.ly)
  4. ^ here (bit.ly)