Drunk HGV driver who caused head-on smash which left Northamptonshire woman with life-changing injuries is jailed for 27 months

A5199 near Creaton (Google image)
A5199 near Creaton (Google image)

A drunk lorry driver who caused a head-on crash with a car on a Northamptonshire road that caused a woman life-changing injuries has been jailed for 27 months.

Franciszek Staranowicz, aged 56, appeared at Northampton Crown Court yesterday after pleading guilty to a charge of causing serious injury by dangerous driving and driving while over the alcohol limit.

The court heard that Staranowicz was driving a Volvo articulated lorry along the A5199 near Creaton shortly before 10pm on February 8 when he veered into the path of a Ford Focus, being driven by a 61-year-old woman.

Michael Coley, prosecuting, said the lorry had crossed the white line in the middle of the road by “one and a half metres”.

As a result of the collision the woman’s car was spun round and shunted off the road.

Mr Coley said Staranowicz, of Kunawina in Poland, had made a delivery of meat to the UK the day before but had then stopped in Crick and spent the evening drinking vodka and beer with other lorry drivers.

Staranowicz was breathalysed at the scene two hours after the crash and gave officers a reading of 87 microgrammes in 100 millitres of breath. The legal limit is 35.

The woman, who had just dropped her husband off at the hospital for cancer treatment, had no memory of the crash and was in a coma for seven days afterwards.

She suffered life-changing injuries including bruising on the brain, a broken breastbone, fractured ribs, damaged spine and fractured pelvis.

Mr Coley said, seven months after the crash, the woman is still suffering severe memory loss, is in constant pain and cannot walk without the aid of a zimmer frame.

Mr Coley said the woman, who was about to retire from her job, was particularly upset that she could no longer take her husband to his hospital appointments.

Mark Sookram, mitigating, said his client felt sincere remorse that he had caused such significant injuries to another person.

Judge Rupert Mayo, sentencing, said he was “particularly concerned” that Staranowicz must have driven on the M1 when he was over the alcohol limit to get to the A5199 where the crash occurred.

He said: “As a HGV driver you must know what a potentially lethal weapon that 40 tonne truck is.”

Staranowicz was sentenced to 27 months in prison. He is likely to serve half his sentence before being released on licence.

He was banned from driving for 28 months.