'˜I wish I'd died' '“ Driver prosecuted for crash that left Portsmouth brother brain damaged

A DRIVER prosecuted for causing a crash that left her brother with a brain injury has said: '˜I wish I had died.'

Sunday, 20th May 2018, 10:24 am
Updated Friday, 8th June 2018, 8:36 am
Karen Greenall, 55, of Weymouth Marina, admitted careless driving after crashing her Vauxhall Insignia into a lorry on the A19 in Middlesbrough leaving her Portsmouth brother with a brain injury PPP-180517-100440001

Former nurse Karen Greenall, 55, had left Portsmouth at 1.20am to drive to Sunderland when she ‘struck’ a lorry on a dual carriageway.

Her crash on October 13, 2017, sparked a series of crashes on the road – with five vehicles involved and five people taken to hospital.

Greenall’s 51-year-old brother Alan, who was a passenger in her Vauxhall Insignia, was airlifted to hospital where he was on life support for five weeks and only discharged after six months’ treatment.

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Speaking outside Portsmouth Magistrates’ Court after pleading guilty to careless driving, Ms Greenall said: ‘I would’ve swapped places with my brother.

‘I wish I would’ve died in that crash – it’s just been awful. I don’t know what happened.’

Greenall, who said police gave her the impression she would not be prosecuted, told The News she had drunk coffee and taken breaks.

She added: ‘My last memory is at 6.30am, the sat nav said 13 miles to go. I’m then in hospital, it’s 9pm that night.’

Greenall, who suffered four broken ribs and a cracked pelvis, asked district judge Anthony Callaway not to ban her as she uses her car to continue to look after her brother, who lives in Portsmouth city centre.

‘There’s no penalty this court can impose upon her that can make her feel any worse than she does because her brother, who was the passenger in the vehicle, sustained a brain injury,’ said Greenall’s lawyer Emma Smith.

Giving evidence, Greenall said she lived in a 30ft 1970s Fairline Phantom motor boat at Weymouth Marina but regularly drove to Portsmouth to look after her brother. She said: ‘I’m going to have to pick him up and take him to Weymouth with me possibly if we can manage in the boat.’

But rejecting this, the judge said the crash at just after 7am on the A19 in Middlesbrough was a ‘serious matter’ and banned her from driving for six months – saying he lowered the ban as her wheelchair-using brother suffered a brain injury.

Sentencing, judge Callaway fined Greenall, who initially gave a relative’s Havant home address in court, £500 with £50 victim surcharge and £85 costs.

He said: ‘This case has its focus on a piece of bad driving that fell below the standard of the ordinary competent driver.

‘The vehicle (Greenall) was driving struck a lorry with catastrophic consequences – luckily nobody was killed.

‘Unfortunately her brother Alan, a 51-year-old man with a large dependency on Ms Greenall, suffered a serious brain injury. He was in hospital for many weeks.’

Multiple crashes not woman’s fault – judge

DRIVER Karen Greenall was not to blame for the multiple vehicles that crashed, a judge said as he fined her.

Ruling he was sentencing Greenall just for striking the lorry, and not the subsequent crashes, district judge Anthony Callaway said: ‘What Mrs Greenall is being sentenced for, pursuant to her plea of driving without due care and attention, is not the cumulative total of the damage and injury that were being caused.

‘We will never know whether other people were to blame.’

Both Greenall and her brother, who lives in Portsmouth city centre, were taken to James Cook University Hospital.

The 21-year-old male driver of another car involved, a Toyota Corolla, was taken to the hospital with a broken back.

Male drivers of a Ford Focus and Renault lorry were assessed by paramedics at the roadside, while a male driver and passenger in a Ford Transit were taken to hospital with leg injuries.

Police in the area have said they will always pursue drivers at fault in crashes.

Inspector Darren Breslin is from Cleveland and Durham Police’s specialist operations unit.

After the case at Portsmouth Magistrates’ Court, Insp Breslin said: ‘This was a serious collision, involving a number of vehicles on the A19 and saw two men suffering significant injuries.

‘We will always pursue a prosecution where a driver has failed to take due care and attention.’