Nurse slams driver's sentence

CRASH victim Kathy Sparkes today slammed the fine given to a driver responsible for an accident on the notorious A140 that left her fighting for her life - and her career hopes in tatters.

By Amanda Cresswell

CRASH victim Kathy Sparkes today slammed the fine given to a driver responsible for an accident on the notorious A140 that left her fighting for her life - and her career hopes in tatters.

Lorry driver Brett Murray walked away with a £300 fine, £55 costs, and seven points on his licence after the smash back in March at Stoke Ash crossroads near Eye.

The 30-year-old from Shipfields, Norwich, pleaded guilty to driving without due care and attention at Sudbury Magistrates Court on July 10.


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Yet four months after the accident his victim suffers short-term memory loss, has physiotherapy for a weakness on her right side and is still off work sick.

Mum-of-three Mrs Sparkes, of Wyverstone near Stowmarket, said: "I thought the driver would get a hefty fine but instead he was given £300 and ordered to pay £55 costs. I doesn't seem a lot when I think what I have lost."

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The senior staff nurse at Hartismere Hospital, near Eye, said: "I am still off sick and I was doing a nursing degree which I can't imagine carrying on with now. Ideally he should have been banned from driving.

"Do I feel bitter? No, just grateful to still be alive really. But it has affected my life a lot and his life very little. I just hope that he learned his lesson and would think twice before he does anything stupid."

The horror crash on March 6, was the eighth to have resulted in injury in the last five years and prompted The Evening Star to launch a campaign to make the A140 safer. Seventy-nine people have killed on the deadly stretch.

Mrs Sparkes was on her way home when her car collided with a lorry and ploughed into the front of the White Horse Inn.

Her worried husband who went looking for her when she failed to arrive home, came across the scene and saw his wife's wrecked vehicle crushed between a heavy good vehicle and the building.

She had to be cut free from the wreckage by firefighters, before being taken to Ipswich Hospital and then transferred to the neurosurgical unit at Addenbrooke's in Cambridge.

"Before the accident I was very career minded," said Mrs Sparkes, who hopes to return to work in September.

"But because of the accident being nearly killed my priorities have changed. I love my job. But I did have lots of goals I know now I can't achieve."

Mrs Sparkes now hopes safety measures will be put in place at the crossing, such as making the road wider.

"There seems to be a lot of humming and harring. How many more people have to be hit before something is done?"

Rod Sore, road safety engineering team leader, said that the public consultation on safety improvements to the A140 was continuing: "Following our public consultation, a route management strategy is currently being drafted for the A140 which will address all aspects of transport along the route including road safety.

"We are also developing specific plans to introduce road safety measures in the Stoke Ash area which will be carried out this financial year."

n Do you think drivers who cause such injury should have been given stronger sentences?

What should be done to make the A140 safer?

Write to Your Letters, Evening Star, 30 Lower Brook Street, Ipswich IP4 1AN or e-mail starletters@eveningstar.co.uk.

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