Careless driver who caused 'life changing' brain injury gets six points

·3-min read
Danielle Thomas struck a man during a moment's inattention on the Broadway, Didcot, in February Pictures: OM/GOOGLE
Danielle Thomas struck a man during a moment's inattention on the Broadway, Didcot, in February Pictures: OM/GOOGLE

A man was left with ‘life changing’ injuries that saw him spend months in hospital after he was knocked down crossing the road in Didcot.

Mum-of-two Danielle Thomas was on her way back from the shops to buy mouth ulcer gel for her poorly daughter when she struck a man in a moment of inattention on the Broadway in February, Oxford Magistrates’ Court heard.

The 32-year-old was fined £282 and given six penalty points on Tuesday after she admitted careless driving.

The court heard that, despite telling paramedics at the scene that he wanted to return home, the victim was taken to hospital where doctors discovered he had suffered a bleed on the brain and multiple broken bones.

The keen music fan spent a month at the John Radcliffe Hospital before he was discharged to Didcot’s community hospital. He was then readmitted to the Oxford hospital for further treatment.

In an impact statement read to the court, the victim’s brother John said the brain injury had had a ‘huge’ impact on the man’s life. His mental capacity meant family members were now responsible for taking decisions about his care.

“He has lost his freedom and been an inpatient in hospital for five months now,” his brother said, adding that his prognosis for the future was ‘unknown’.

Appearing before the Oxford magistrates on Tuesday afternoon, driver Thomas, of McLaren Way, Didcot, pleaded guilty to a single count of careless driving.

Prosecutor Liz Tweed told the justices that Thomas was behind the wheel of a 2014-plate Mercedes at around 9.05pm on February 8 when she struck the man on the Broadway.

“Quite simply, it seems she did not notice him in front of the vehicle at the time,” the advocate said.

She applied her brakes but too late to avoid hitting the man, who was knocked to the ground.

The victim was later found to have broken one of his legs, his collarbone, several ribs and his pelvis. He suffered a ‘life-changing’ bleed on the brain.

Mitigating, Kate Macnab said her client was on her way home from the Co-op where she had bought Bonjela mouth ulcer gel for her eldest daughter. She ‘wasn’t in any hurry’ and ‘wasn’t distracted in any way within the car’.

Oxford Mail: Danielle Thomas (pictured outside Oxford Magistrates' Court) was fined and given penalty points for causing 'life changing' injuries by careless driving Picture: OM
Oxford Mail: Danielle Thomas (pictured outside Oxford Magistrates' Court) was fined and given penalty points for causing 'life changing' injuries by careless driving Picture: OM

Danielle Thomas (pictured outside Oxford Magistrates' Court) was fined and given penalty points for causing 'life changing' injuries by careless driving Picture: OM

In a prepared statement read when she was interviewed by the police earlier this year, Thomas said bystanders had told her that the victim had ‘walked straight out in front of my vehicle and I wouldn’t have had time to stop’. She accepted she ‘must have been distracted’, for which she apologised.

The magistrates were told that the victim of the crash was reportedly intoxicated at the time of the incident and had not been using a nearby pedestrian crossing.

Thomas, who had never been in trouble with police before, was initially told by the police that she would hear ‘nothing more about it’, her solicitor said. A month later she was contacted by officers and told ‘because of the seriousness of the injuries it was necessary for her to go for her voluntary interview’.

The magistrates fined her £282, imposed six penalty points and ordered she pay £119 in costs and surcharge.

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This story was written by Tom Seaward. He joined the team in 2021 as Oxfordshire's court and crime reporter.

To get in touch with him email: Tom.Seaward@newsquest.co.uk

Follow him on Twitter: @t_seaward