A man who lost control of his Mercedes and ploughed into a crowd of people at a ‘cruise event’ in Peterborough has been jailed after he admitted seriously injuring people as a result of his dangerous driving.
Anthony Francis (21) of Lambeth Walk, Stamford, was taking part in the event in Stapledon Road, Orton Southgate on August 8 when he lost control of his car and hit a kerb.
The defendant was trying to do a ‘drift’ manoeuvre, when he lost control of his Mercedes and collided with the crowd. A number of serious injuries were caused to witnesses,
The car then crashed into a group of around 50 people, seriously injuring five of them.
A witness described people ‘flying into the air’ in the moments following the collision.
Today (Friday January 15) he was jailed for 18 months having pleaded guilty to five counts of causing serious injury by dangerous driving and one count of dangerous driving. The car he was driving was made subject of a forfeiture order by the court.
PC Paul Nisbet, who investigated, said: “This was an horrific crash for those injured and for the many people watching and it is only luck that no-one was more seriously hurt or killed.
“The case should send out a clear message that those taking part in illegal events of this kind run a significant risk of being seriously injured, or worse, and if you happen to be driving, a prison sentence.
“We will continue to treat these events seriously and do whatever we can to prevent them happening in the first place.”
At a previous hearing, Giles Beaumont, prosecuting, said: “The incident happened at an industrial estate in Orton Southgate. There were a large number of car enthusiasts in attendance for the purpose of watching people drive their vehicles round a car park.
“The defendant was trying to do a ‘drift’ manoeuvre, when he lost control of his Mercedes and collided with the crowd. A number of serious injuries were caused to witnesses, as well as some less serious injuries to others.”
Mr Beaumont read part of a witness statement out to the court, which said: “I saw him (Francis) go round five times. He came round again, giving it some, and he got into a slide. It was immediately apparent he did not know what he was doing.
“He hit a kerb, which lifted the car, and ploughed into a group of 50 people.
“I saw people flying into the air, at least one went under the car. One went through the windscreen, and one went over the bonnet.”
Mr Beaumont said the case was too serious to be sentenced by magistrates, and it should be committed to Peterborough Crown Court for sentencing.
Andy Cave, defending, agreed and said: “We agree the correct jurisdiction is at the crown court.
“Through me Mr Francis wishes to express his remorse to the court and to the victims.”