Lee Christopher Cooney jailed for three-vehicle crash

image copyrightCumbria Police
image captionLee Christopher Cooney was jailed for three years after admitting two counts of causing serious injury by dangerous driving

A grandmother "could have died" when she was crashed into "like a bullet" by a speeding driver, a court has heard.

Lee Christopher Cooney smashed into Colin Smith's van and Christine Mumberson's Renault Clio near Carlisle on 3 December 2019.

Mr Smith and Ms Mumberson suffered multiple serious injuries, Carlisle Crown Court heard.

Cooney admitted two counts of causing serious injury by dangerous driving and was jailed for three years.

The court heard Cooney, 43, who was banned from driving at the time, attempted to overtake Mr Cooney's van on a service road between Gretna and Blackford near Carlisle.

But he smashed into the van while trying to avoid Ms Mumberson's Clio which was coming round a bend in the opposite direction.

Cooney, of Caird Avenue, Carlisle, then hit the Clio, prosecutor Betsy Hindle said, and police found his VW Golf's speedometer had stuck on 84mph.

Mr Smith initially tried to assist Cooney - who was also injured - but became dizzy with blood "beginning to pour from his head".

Ms Mumberson was cut free from her Clio, which had ended up in a ditch.

She suffered two breaks to her neck which required a spinal "halo" brace for nine weeks and extensive rehabilitation, along with broken ribs and fractured fingers.

Mr Smith's multiple injuries included damaged right shoulder cartilage and ligaments, a broken left radius which required an operation to realign, temporary sight impairment, plus bruising and tenderness to his entire body.

In statements, Mr Smith spoke of a "major impact upon my whole life" and having his 30-year joinery career ended, while grandmother Ms Mumberson described suffering flashbacks, anxiety and depression, and reflected: "I could have died."

Cooney's first action after the crash was to try to light a cigarette, the court heard. He tested positive for cannabis and cocaine but was not over the legal limit.

Cooney, who had 131 crimes on his record including multiple convictions for driving while disqualified, was also banned from driving for 78 months.

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