The parents of a Brackley teenager who experienced life-changing injuries during a car crash in January, have said it will be a long time before they can get over the trauma, after the driver was sentenced to 15 months’ detention last week.
There was an outpouring of support when Millie Toman spent her 15th birthday in an induced coma following the crash, which included a candlelit vigil, messages of support on social networking sites as well as posters put up around Magdalen College School by her friends.
She had been a passenger in a MG Rover ZR on Saturday, January 28, alongside three others, when driver Declan McKeever began swerving across the A422 between the Tesco and Banbury Road roundabouts, at speeds of up to 85mph. Eventually he clipped a kerb and rolled the car several times before it came to rest 60 metres from the road.
On Tuesday, August 21, McKeever a trainee mechanic of Valley Road, Brackley pleaded guilty to dangerous driving and was sentenced to 15 month detention and was banned from driving for four years.
In a statement from the Millie’s parents Fiona and Dave after the sentence was passed they said: “What happened that night was a terrible event that changed the lives of all the young people involved and their families.
“We wouldn’t wish these circumstances on anyone and hope that lessons have been learned so no others go through this in the future.
“The court has made its judgement but it will be a very long time before all involved can put this behind them.”
The court heard Millie suffered a fractured skull, eye socket, multiple fractured vertebra and had to be fitted with a halo brace.
A 17-year-old from Evenley and a 16-year-old from Brackley also suffered injuries including a fractured collar bone, shoulder blade, multiple fractured ribs and a punctured lung.
Kevin Lynch, for McKeever, said: “It’s sheer blind luck no one was killed.”
Judge Richard Bray criticised the maximum sentence of two years for dangerous driving, stating the sentence “would have been measured in many years” had anyone died.
He said: “I have to sentence you for a serious case of dangerous driving. You were driving too fast when you deliberately swerved across the road from side to side.
“It’s plain you were trying to trying to show off to your passengers – some of whom were girls.”
He added: “It is a miracle no one was killed. I bear in mind your age and your inexperience but is an aggravating feature you were prepared to drive so recklessly within months of having passed your test. There must be a custodial sentence. The message has to go out to other young people who may be minded to behave in the same way you have done.”
PC David Lee of the Northants roads policing unit said McKeever escaped with minor injuries compared to his passengers as he was the only who was wearing a seatbelt.
He welcomed the conviction and said McKeever had a reputation for reckless driving.