A driving instructor has been sentenced to four-and-a-half years in jail after he admitted causing a crash on a Northamptonshire road that left two young girls paralysed.
Andrew Nay, aged 39, of Harrier Close, Weldon, near Corby, pulled his 4X4 into the path of a Vauxhall Signum containing a family of four on the A509 near Wellingborough on October 3 last year.
Dashcam footage from the Vauxhall shows how Nay pulled his vehicle into the path of the Vauxhall after overtaking a Mercedes that was stationary and indicating to turn right.
Nay claimed the manoeuvre, which was carried out a speed with the Jaguar Land Rover tilting on to two wheels, was a “split second” decision of bad driving after he changed his mind about whether to take the right hand turn towards Little Harrowden.
But, following a three-day Newton Hearing at Northampton Crown Court, Judge Adrienne Lucking QC ruled that Nay had caused the crash because he was chasing a vehicle he believed had cut him up at the roundabout of the A14 and A509.
The court heard evidence from a number of fellow motorists, including the female driver of the Mazda who said Nay was aggressively tailgating and “bullying” her as he followed her vehicle along the A509.
Matthew Rowcliffe, prosecuting, said the woman admitted putting her hand out the window and “sticking her middle finger up” at Nay as he was so close to her vehicle she could “only see his bonnet in her rear view mirror”.
Nay, who acts as a driving instructor during off-road 4x4 driving experience days, claimed tailgating was a “bad habit” he had acquired from driving in cities regularly.
Due to her concerns about Nay’s driving, the Mazda driver overtook a Mercedes to put a car between the two vehicles but was not able to make much further progress up the road due to heavy traffic.
Fraser Hopes, the driver of the Mercedes, said Nay’s Land Rover then began to tailgate him and in his rear view mirror he could see two men “smiling” and “having a laugh” about something.
Mr Rowcliffe said it was the prosecution’s case that Nay and his partner, who was in the passenger in the car, found it amusing the vehicle they had been chasing had been forced into the overtaking manoeuvre.
A short distance later, the Mazda took a right hand turn towards Little Harrowden and Mr Hopes then slowed his Mercedes to do the same.
The camera footage shows Nay pulls out to the left of the Mercedes and then pulls a sharp right across the oncoming traffic in pursuit of the Mazda, causing the crash with Mr Raiba’s car.
As a result of the crash Roberts Raiba, his wife Renate and two daughters Katrina and Karlina, aged eight and five at the time, were all severely injured.
Mr Raiba suffered a fractured shoulder blade, bruised chest, torn muscles in his arm, nerve damage to left hand and has to take painkillers daily.
Mrs Raiba suffered a fractured left arm and nerve damage to her wrist,
The two young girls both suffered spinal cord injuries and now require substantial ongoing medical treatment.
The court heard both parents were now unable to work and the family’s life had changed “200 per cent”.
Marcus Kraehling-Smith, mitigating, said Nay was “truly remorseful” for his actions and said the “guilt would live with him forever.”
Mr Kraehling-Smith said his client had lost his job and would also lose his home.
Judge Adrienne Lucking QC said Nay was guilty of a “prolonged, persistent and dangerous course of very bad driving.”
Judge Lucking said: “The video footage is extremely important in understanding the end nature of your dangerous driving
She said: “No one watching the dashcom video footage will be in any doubt the clear purpose was a rapid pursuit of the car.
“It is visibly leaning heavily down as you execute the manoeuvre. The consequences of this collision are tragic.
“The two children both suffered catastrophic life-changing injuries.
“The lives of this family have been changed forever. This family will be extremely restricted in what it can do and where it can go. But they have showed tremendous courage in face of their injuries and an incredibly positive attitude.
“However, no sentence I pass will ever feel enough for this family.”
Nay is likely to serve half of his four-and-half year jail sentence in custody before being released on licence. He was disqualified from driving for four years, starting the day he gets ut of prison.