Woman driver, 22, avoids prison after crippling motorist in crash while high on drink and drugs


A young woman driver who left a motorist crippled when she ploughed into her car while high on drink and drugs has walked free from court.

Kirsty Hopkins, 22, lost control on a bend after drinking and smoking cannabis and smashed head-on into a car containing Lisa-Marie Stoneley and her family.

The mum-of-two was in a coma for eight days and spent three months in hospital with swelling on the brain.

She suffered two broken legs, ripped cartilage in both knees, multiple fractures and all but one of her vertebrae were damaged or broken.

Lisa-Marie, 35, is now confined to a wheelchair and has abandoned her dream of a career in nursing.

Hopkins pleaded guilty to dangerous driving, driving whilst over the alcohol limit and possessing cannabis.

But despite being on bail for a similar offence at the time she escaped with an eight-year driving ban and a two-year suspended prison sentence.

Yesterday Lisa-Marie slammed the sentence and said Hopkins has shown no remorse for her actions.

“No sentence can compare to the one I have,” she said. “I take strong pain killers. I have just had my tenth operation and I’m likely to have more. I’m in a wheelchair again.

“I’m pleased she can’t drive but the sentences need to be tougher. She hasn’t made any attempt to apologise to us.”

The smash happened at 11pm on October 6, 2012, as Lisa-Marie drove home from a carnival with her partner Louis Wood, 37, one-year-old baby Faith, son Ryan, 17, and his friend Jamie Steer, 17.

Hopkins drove “at speed” on the wrong side of the B3168 near Ilminster, Somerset, before ploughing into the family car, Taunton Crown Court heard.

Tara Wolfe, prosecuting, said Hopkins, of Dowlish Ford, Somerset, made no attempt to brake or swerve to avoid the collision.

Police found a bottle of vodka in her car and 3.8 grams of cannabis in her bag but Hopkins claims she has no recollection of the incident.

Everyone except baby Faith, now one, are still suffering from their injuries as a result of the smash, the court was told.

Taxi driver Mr Wood, 37, has post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and is signed off work indefinitely.

Ryan, 17, has also been diagnosed with PTSD and some of Mr Steer’s injuries were not healing properly.

Now Lisa-Marie, a former community carer from Ilminster, has been left with memory problems and cannot pursue her childhood dream of becoming a nurse.

She also fears her injuries are a ticking time bomb as she may develop osteoporosis and arthritis in her spine.

Lawrence Wilcox, defending, said Hopkins expressed remorse, had stopped drinking and had “largely reduced her use of cannabis”.

Sentencing, Judge David Ticehurst took into account “considerable difficulties” Hopkins suffered.

She appeared in court on crutches as the victim of a crash in November and had psychological problems.

But he said her previous bail “aggravated” the situation and that getting into the car was like “putting a lethal weapon” in her hands.

“You caused life-changing injuries to a number of people. It’s more by luck than judgement that some of them did not die,” he added.


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