Drink driver ran off after high-speed crash which left three seriously injured

A drink-driver crashed at high speed and left three people seriously injured as he ran from the scene, a court was told.

By Nick Frame
Wednesday, 16th September 2020, 12:30 pm
Jailed: Joshua Hartshorne
Jailed: Joshua Hartshorne

Joshua Luke Hartshorne lost control of his car in Horbury after a night out with friends and collided with an oncoming vehicle which set on fire as passengers frantically tried to escape.

His own passenger, a male who was left with spinal injuries, said Hartshorne had reached speeds of up to 80mph in built-up 30mph areas, although this exact speed was disputed by the defendant, Leeds Crown Court heard.

A female passenger in the opposite vehicle suffered severe facial injuries, including two fractures to her eye socket that needed surgery to fit metal plates, while a second female in the oncoming car suffered a badly dislocated ankle.

Hartshorne, 24, who has since lost his career in the army, admitted three counts of causing serious injury through dangerous driving, being over the drink-drive limit and failing to stop after an accident.

Carmel Pearson, prosecuting, said Hartshorne had been drinking on a night out with friends in Wakefield on September 7 last year when they decided they would go back to his house in Horbury.

They got a taxi to the Co-op car park in Horbury where Hartshorne had left his car earlier in the night.

He assured a male passenger that was he okay to drive and they set off along Rayner Street then towards Horbury Bridge on the A642.

The passenger later told police that he thought Hartshorne was reaching dangerous speeds and lost control on a bend before reaching the bridge, spun the vehicle 180 degrees and smashed into the passenger side of a Vauxhall Vectra coming the other way.

Hartshorne, of Bridge Road, Horbury, then got out and ran while his passenger was left trapped and badly injured. The two injured females in the Vectra were able to release themselves, as had the male driver before the car began to catch fire.

The fire service were quickly on the scene and were able to extinguish the flames before it could spread to the other vehicle containing the stricken male.

Hartshorne eventually turned himself over to police and was given a breath test which showed he had 73 mcgs of alcohol in 100 mls of breath. The legal limit is 35 mcgs.

The court was told that the passenger in Hartshorne's car suffered multiple fractures to his spine and pelvis and spent eight weeks in hospital. He also had to wear a surgical halo, is having ongoing treatment and has been forced to defer his place at university.

Impact statements for all three injured passengers were read out, with one of the females saying she was left anxious and had trouble sleeping after the crash.

A probation report said Hartshorne was now a self-employed joiner after being discharged from the Royal Signals because of the criminal charges brought against him.

At the time of the crash he had also gone through a separation after just three months of marriage.

Mitigating, Michael Morley, said: "He is deeply ashamed of what he has done and the harm he has caused.

"He is conscious that the promise of his early career has been thrown away and the shame he has brought on his family.

"He adored his career in the army and had shown such great promise. All that has gone and he knows it is his own fault."

Jailing him for two years, Judge Geoffrey Marson QC said: "For reasons I can't understand you collected your car.

"It was an act of complete cowardice to flee the scene and have a complete disregard for those who had been injured.

"You were thinking only of yourself.

"Only an immediate custodial sentence can be justified."

Hartshorne was also banned from driving for three years.