Hit-and-run driver jailed for Braunton surfer crash

Image source, Karma Worthington
Image caption,
Karma Worthington has only just managed to get back on a surfboard after the crash

A hit-and-run driver who crashed into a surfing instructor on a pelican crossing has been jailed.

Karma Worthington was thrown about "like a rag doll" by the impact with a van driven by Gary Scholes, Exeter Crown Court heard.

Scholes, 36, of Farnworth, Bolton, had jumped two red lights before he hit Ms Worthington in north Devon in October.

Scholes admitted causing serious injury by dangerous driving and failing to stop or report an accident.

He was jailed for two years and four months and banned from driving for three years.

The court heard Scholes had been rushing home from a pub when he hit 26-year-old Ms Worthington in Braunton last October.

Ms Worthington, a former British junior surfer who works as an instructor, suffered serious injuries to her pelvis and right arm.

Scholes had driven the wrong way around a roundabout and two traffic islands, and had been driving his van at speeds up to 51mph in 30mph zones moments before the crash.

Ms Worthington said after the case she had only just managed to get back on a surfboard but she did "not have the same strength or fitness or the mobility in my left arm".

"I just hope to put this behind me and get on with my life and recover," she said.

Paul Grumbar, defending, said Scholes had been driving too fast because he was late getting home and was genuinely remorseful.

He drove on after the accident because he was "panicking and confused", Mr Grumbar said.

Judge David Evans told Scholes driving away from the scene "cannot be explained as simple panic".

"You carried on driving wildly and dangerously, risking further collision," he said. "You drove on to avoid apprehension."

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