Junior doctor who 'fell asleep at wheel' after 12-hour shift and hit four people jailed

·3-min read
James Celaire, 25, told police at the scene that he shouldn't have driven home as his 'eyes were going.' (SWNS)
James Celaire, 25, told police at the scene that he shouldn't have driven home as his 'eyes were going'. (SWNS)

A junior doctor who 'fell asleep' at the wheel after a 12-hour shift at a hospital before hitting two women and leaving them with life-changing injuries has been jailed.

James Celaire, 25, told the police at the scene that he shouldn't have driven home as his 'eyes were going' and should have stayed in staff accommodation at the hospital.

He struck a mother and her two sons, aged four and six, as they waited to cross at a zebra crossing on their way to school on December 9 2020.

Celaire also collided into another woman who was waiting at the crossing and flung her into a tree, just minutes after she had dropped her daughter off at school.

One of the women had to have her leg amputated after the accident, and all of the other three victims suffered serious fractures.

Celaire, who pled guilty to four offences of causing serious injury by dangerous driving, was jailed for two years and four months on 30 November.

Read more: Driver mocked over ‘worst parking ever’ in city centre

Four people were injured in the crash. (SWNS)
Four people were injured in the crash. (SWNS)

Bradford Crown Court heard how Celaire was driving home from a 12-hour night shift when he left a line of cars and accelerated on the wrong side of the road.

Celaire's barrister Sarah Barlow said it was "overwhelmingly likely" that he had briefly fallen asleep after finishing his shift at Bradford Royal Infirmary.

Prosecutor Chloe Fairley even said that one of the mothers thought the Suzuki driver was "an impatient bad boy racer" and cried out for the children after she had been hit.

One of the injured women went through several surgeries in an attempt to save her leg after being broken at the knee and ankle, but it was ultimately amputated.

In her victim statement, she said that her "life changed forever that day".

She said: "This accident has turned my life upside down.

"I don't want my children to think they will have to look after me when they get older.

"My heart is broken.

"I've not only lost my leg but my dreams, hopes and desires."

James Celaire was jailed at Bradford Crown Court. (PA)
James Celaire was jailed at Bradford Crown Court. (PA)

The woman also opened about how she has sought psychiatric help, rarely leaves the house and was unsure if she would ever be able to work again.

Her six-year-old son suffered from a skull fracture and a fractured left leg that was in a frame for three months.

Her four-year-old suffered from a fractured left tibia and the court heard how both of the youngsters may need further operations in the future.

The second woman sustained a fractured leg and shoulder injuries, and she also had a frame attached to her leg for a long period of time.

The court heard from the woman's son, who said how her physical and mental health has been severely affected.

He also said that she constantly questions why it had happened to her and she wonders if she will ever feel comfortable crossing the road again.

Another one of her family members said that suddenly there was no laughter in the house anymore, just silence.

Barlow conceded the devastating effect of the injuries and said Celaire, from Leeds, was "deeply and genuinely horrified" by what had happened.

He told his probation officer that he was more tired than what he appreciated, and had not taken any time out during his foundation year of working as a junior doctor.

Celaire has no previous convictions and character references showed that he was a man of exemplary good character.

Barlow also said how he had "always worked for caring people, mitigating harm rather causing it".

He also returned to work knowing his career could be brought to an end by the accident.