How drink-driver could have shattered young student's dreams of teaching career in devastating crash
PUBLISHED: 16:04 11 January 2019 | UPDATED: 17:51 11 January 2019
The family of a young university student whose dreams of becoming a teacher could have been shattered by a drink-driver in a life-changing crash have spoken of their relief after he was jailed.
Lauren Thomas, 20, was left with such horrific injuries from the head-on crash with Philip Bloomfield that she was unable to pursue her studies and aspirations of a teaching career, causing her severe “emotional distress”.
She also had to undergo 10 hours of surgery after the crash and have counselling to come to terms with the psychological impact of the incident, which also meant she had to give up her hobbies of skiing and kickboxing.
Bloomfield, 49, of Stowmarket Road, Stonham Aspal, was jailed for two years and banned from driving for four years after he failed to navigate the left-hand bend on the A1120 near Earl Stonham on April 1 last year.
He hit Lauren Thomas’ Fiat head-on, causing both of them potentially life-changing injuries.
At Bloomfield’s sentencing hearing, Judge Martyn Levett told Ipswich Crown Court: “The biggest effect was certainly the emotional distress caused to Miss Thomas.
“She has a great deal of anxiety due to the disruption of her studies and now being unable to pursue her aspirations of becoming a teacher.
“Nor can she continue skiing or kickboxing, two hobbies she previously loved.”
Greg Thomas, Lauren’s father, spoke about the relief the whole family felt now that the nine-month ordeal was over.
After the sentencing, he said: “The decision he made that day could have killed someone and caused a lot of heartache - we are so glad Lauren survived.
“The two-year sentence reinforces how serious this crash was and how much worse it could have been.
“That crash has impacted our lives and his life as well. It’s broken his family all for the sake of a couple of drinks on a Sunday afternoon.
“This is the only example people should need to not drink and drive.”
Lauren sustained thigh fractures, a fracture to her right knee cap, an open fracture of her left big toe, damage to her left lung and broken bones in her foot in the crash and still has to rely on crutches to walk.
Bloomfield is expected to remain in a wheelchair for the next three to six months and potentially undergo another operation while he serves his custodial sentence.