'Inexperienced' teen driver left friends seriously injured after flipping car in Northumberland crash

Nathan Blaylock pictured at Newcastle Magistrates' Court.
Nathan Blaylock pictured at Newcastle Magistrates' Court. -Credit:ChronicleLive

An "inexperienced" teenage driver left his friends with serious injuries after flipping his car in a crash.

Nathan Blaylock was behind the wheel of a Vauxhall Corsa as he drove along the Military Road at Whittington with four of his friends as passengers on August 7, last year. But as the 18-year-old negotiated a bend, he lost control of his car, resulting in it flipping onto its roof and seriously injuring everyone inside.

The crash left two of his friends with fractured skulls, with another sustaining a fractured collar bone and the fourth suffering "multiple traumatic hematomas". Blaylock himself sustained broken ribs and left him with PTSD-like symptoms.

This week, Blaylock, of The Copse, Prudhoe, Northumberland, appeared at Newcastle Magistrates' Court to be sentenced for four counts of causing serious injury by careless driving. He had pleaded guilty to the offences.

The court heard that the group of friends, Blaylock and three boys and a girl, had spent the evening "hanging out" and driving around together in his car. After 11pm, a suggestion was then made to go up the Military Road when it was "pitch-black".

Jennifer McElvin, prosecuting, said: "No one knows what happened next. Northumbria Police received a call from the ambulance service notifying them of a road traffic collision on that road. The defendant himself reported the crash, saying the car was on its roof and that five people were involved. Two were still in the car, one was unconscious."

Ms McElvin said one of the boys sustained a fractured collar bone and a scalp hematoma. The second boy suffered a skull fracture, four broken ribs, bruised lungs and spinal fractures. The girl suffered "multiple traumatic hematomas", with the third boy also sustaining a fractured skull, a broken collar bone and "breaks to the bottom of his back".

One of the boys involved was fitted with titanium rods and suffered "prolonged pain" afterwards. Another said the impact of the crash had been "huge" on his life, leaving him in a "huge amount of pain and discomfort".

Amy Lamb, defending, said Blaylock was of previous good character and "accepts full responsibility for what's happened". She said: "He is sincerely remorseful and absolutely devastated for the long lasting impact [the crash] has had on his friends.

"It is something he has had difficulty coping with...he is struggling with nightmares and thoughts of the injuries he's caused. He suffers flashbacks and PTSD-like symptoms."

Ms Lamb told the court that Blaylock had passed his driving test five months before the crash and is someone with a "bright future ahead", with plans to go to university. She added: "He remains friends with those involved."

Sentencing Blaylock, District Judge Paul Currer said there was no evidence of the teen exceeding the speed limit before the crash and no evidence of "deliberate or poor driving". He told him he was an "inexperienced driver" who "simply made a mistake" and was going too fast for that part of the road.

Blaylock was given 16 weeks prison, suspended for 12 months and banned from driving for a year. He must also carry out 200 hours unpaid work and pay £239 to the court. He must take an extended re-test if he wants his licence back.