A driver who smashed his car into a brand new £200million shopping centre in a failed suicide bid is being sued for more than £200,000 for the damage he caused.
Depressed James Williams, 25, drove his Ford Puma into Cabot Circus in Bristol at up to 100mph – shattering the largest shop window in Europe.
Amazingly, he survived the crash because a passing doctor administered first aid but has been left with a permanent limp from his injuries.
James, from Stoke Gifford, Bristol, pleaded guilty to dangerous driving and causing criminal damage and was jailed for 21 months in July last year.
After being released from prison he is now being sued for £213,115.76 by the Bristol Alliance Partnership, which owns Cabot Circus – which opened just months before the crash.
This includes £115,000 for replacing wrecked windows, £50,000 for temporary support and consultants’ fees of £40,000.
The damage to the window of House of Fraser took months to be repaired due to the sheer size of the three bespoke toughened glass panels.
A High Court Writ states the accident and subsequent damage were a result of his negligence including driving dangerously and permitting his vehicle to collide with an obvious hazard.
Tabitha Cave, head of the health and safety team at lawyers Veale Wasbrough Vizards, which are based in Bristol, said the costs could get even higher for James.
She said: ”If the owners of Cabot Circus are successful with their claim against Mr Williams, then they will be entitled to seek payment of their legal costs, in addition to compensation for the repairs.
”Mr Williams is likely to be able to claim an indemnity for both from his insurers, even though the claim relates to his criminal behaviour.”
The incident happened at 1am on December 12 2008.
Other motorists estimated him to be driving at speeds of around 100mph as he entered both 60 and 30mph zones of the M32.
He ran a red light before he clipped a wall at a pedestrian crossing and flipped his car onto the roof of another car whose driver, Jamie Haynes, was waiting at traffic lights.
Mr Haynes’ car, an Audi A6, was pushed onto its side and he suffered a fractured shoulder, four fractured spinal vertebrae, a broken rib and a punctured lung.
James then smashed into the 30ft plate glass windows of the House and Fraser flagship store.
He was thrown from the car and suffered serious multiple injuries but was kept alive by the passing doctor from Bristol Royal Infirmary.
Bristol Crown Court heard Mr Williams had sent a series of texts to a work colleague indicating he wanted to end his life and police also found an apparent suicide note.
James was banned from driving for five years and must take an extended driving test before getting back behind the wheel.
The court also heard that he came from a stable background but was unhappy, although there was no reason why.
So let me get this straight, the guy is obviously upset enough to kill himself so…you sue him…
Why not? Just because he can’t handle his problems doesn’t mean he’s off the hook for damage he caused. Suck it up, man.
Maybe you should open your rather closed mind before judging others, Guestan.
I don’t think Guestan said anything to indicate he has a closed mind. Even if one would admit sympathy for the perpetrator’s troubles are in order, it leads to a rather offputting conclusion: that citizens who are depressed and cause chaos should not be prosecuted for their crimes?
Maybe this guy will open your mind the next time he tries to kill himself. Literally open your mind as in take the top of your head off with his car. I hope so. He had no regard for anyone when he did what he did, he could have killed others and deserves everything he gets.
Next time use a tree. Trees don’t sue.
Damn that doctor…
You’re doing it wrong.
He’s lucky he didn’t kill, injure or paralyze anybody. He should be glad its only property damage.
“Mr Haynes’ car, an Audi A6, was pushed onto its side and he suffered a fractured shoulder, four fractured spinal vertebrae, a broken rib and a punctured lung.”
No no, he didn’t “kill, injure or paralyze anybody” at all. Just potentially ruin the life of a totally innocent bystander and almost certainly shorten it. Muppet commenter.
Good. It’s about time some from a company tried to get they’re money back.