September 5th, 2016

Driver jailed following horrendous crash near Southam

Updated: 2:35 pm, Jun 26, 2015

TWO terrified young women thought they were going to die when the owner of a high-powered car they were in refused to slow down as he drove at horrendous sped along a narrow country lane.

Amazingly they survived, but suffered serious injuries, after arrogant Shaun Cudworth lost control of his Peugeot 206 GTI at around 110mph on a bend near Southam.

Such was its speed that it demolished a hedge and a fence and continued across a field and through another fence before becoming airborne, with its roof hitting a tree before it ended up in an adjacent field.

Cudworth, of Bishopton Lane, Stratford, was jailed for three years by a judge at Warwick Crown Court who also banned him from driving for four years.

The 22 year-old had pleaded guilty to causing serious injuries to his passengers Chloe Baldwin and Megan Balderstone by dangerous driving as he was taking them back to Chloe’s home in Gaydon.

Prosecutor Antonie Muller said the horrific crash took place at around 7.30pm on October 18 last year on the 50mph limit B4551 Kineton Road at Deppers Bridge near Southam.

The air ambulance, other ambulances, paramedics, the police and fire brigade all rushed to the scene after, despite her injuries, Chloe was mercifully able to call 999.

All three were rushed to hospital, although Cudworth had escaped with only minor injuries, after they were freed from the wrecked vehicle.

Megan, from Banbury, who had been behind Cudworth, was trapped with the roof pressing down on her, and thought she was going to die.

She suffered an unstable fracture to one of the vertebra in her neck, as a result of which she had to wear a neck brace for some months, ten broken ribs and internal damage to her spleen, lungs and an artery to her brain.

Chloe, who was in the front passenger seat, had injuries including six broken ribs, a fractured breastbone and damaged nerves in her ankle and shoulder.

When they were later able to make statements, Megan said they had been in the car all day, but as they were heading back to Gaydon Cudworth was driving too fast, and when she looked over his shoulder she could see he was doing over 100mph.

She said: “He was just getting erratic, like driving at stupid speed. I don’t normally wear my seat belt in a car, but I put it on and said ‘you need to slow down.’”

But Cudworth, who she said was a ‘boy racer’ who they had been telling to slow down all day, responded by saying: “No, it’s my car. I can control it.”

Chloe, who used to work with Cudworth, told officers: “He had been driving a bit fast all day, and I told him several times to slow down.”

At one point he swore saying ‘It’s my car; I can handle it.’

Chloe added: “I locked my seat belt, and me and Megan looked at each-other. I held her hand and said ‘I love you.’

Nick Devine, defending, said Cudworth had ‘never sought to evade responsibility’.

“His remorse in very genuine and very deeply felt. He is fully aware of the position he finds himself in; and he has a supportive family who know the likely outcome today.”

Jailing Cudworth, Judge de Bertodano told him: “You were driving at really excessive speeds.

“The girls were clearly terrified by what was happening and asked you repeatedly to slow down, and you refused in no uncertain terms.

“There is a real arrogance in driving for a sustained period of time at over 100 in the face of your passengers pleading with you to slow down.

“It is very fortunate neither of your passengers or anyone else using the road was killed. If someone had been, the sentence would have been in double figures – but the maximum sentence for this offence is five years.”

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