The face of the man who hit girl, 12, with van after looking at his phone while driving
"THIS has been a living nightmare that has been impossible to get out of." That's what the mother of a 12-year-old girl said about her family's life after her daughter suffered life-changing injuries at the hands of a recovery driver who mounted a pavement and hit her in December 2019. Ethan Davison, 21, was looking at his phone when he came off the road and collided with the youngster before driving off.
The father-of-two, formerly of Harrison Road, Southampton, will spend three-and-a-half years behind bars for his 'reckless' driving. But for his 12-year-old victim, who cannot be named for legal reasons, the impact of that December day will last forever. : Man admits to hit and run in Newbury
The now-teenage girl suffered life-changing injuries, which include permanent brain damage, scoliosis, visual impairment and the inability to walk. She will have to undergo major surgery every seven years to replace a pump in her spinal cord. The girl requires 24-hour support with two carers looking after her during the day and one during the night.
In a victim statement, her mother said: "This has been a living nightmare that has been impossible to get out of. "It's because of his [Davison's] recklessness in one single moment of time. "She was in the prime of her life with many adventures in front of her.
"It is difficult to say just how much this incident has impacted our lives. "It is absolutely devastating." What happened?
Ethan Davison secured a job as a recovery driver in late 2019 when he was 19. Defence counsel Tom Horder described it as his 'dream job' as he was following in the footsteps of his father who had also worked as a recovery driver. Davison, who has previous convictions for using his phone while driving, was filmed using his device on the road and driving with no hands on the wheel in dashcam footage recorded days before the incident.
After some training, Davison was one week into the job when he started an overtime shift on the evening of December 27, 2019. He was heading towards Marlborough when he reached the A339 Greenham Road in Newbury. : Remembering the UK victims from 9/11
The girl and her mum, grandparents and cousins were walking home from the Corn Exchange in Newbury having been to a Christmas pantomime show at around 8.57pm when disaster struck. Davison, who had been looking at a map on his phone, which was on the passenger seat, mounted the pavement and hit the girl. The 21-year-old did not stop and drove off.
The girl's family immediately called 999 and she was taken to the John Radcliffe Hospital in Newbury for emergency surgery. Her family was told to prepare for the possibility that she may not survive the procedure.
Image via TVP Fortunately, she did pull through but was put into an induced coma for three days and was sedated for five weeks afterwards. She was only discharged 18 weeks later after more life-saving operations and care.
One procedure involved part of her skull being removed. Despite surviving the horror crash, the girl suffered life-changing injuries which will affect her for the rest of her life. How did Davison react to the incident?
The 21-year-old drove off after hitting the young girl. The next day he called his employer to tell him his van had been stolen. His boss told him to call the police, which he did.
But his manager used tracking software to locate the van and discovered it had been parked around a mile from where he lived. When recovered, it was discovered the vehicle had damage to its side. : Planning round up from Reading
He then called the police to report Davison, informing officers of what his employee had told him. Davison was arrested on December 30. In one police interview, he told officers he had fallen asleep at the wheel, but prosecutor Ellie Fargin said investigations proved the driving pattern was "not consistent" with this claim.
Defending, Tom Horder said the decisions Davison made that day have had a "life-changing" impact on the girl and her family and that it was a "terrible incident with terrible consequences." However, he added: "One could call it reckless but the departing of the road was not a deliberate act." Horder said that since the incident, Davison had "struggled to come to terms" with his behaviour and that he was "sorry" but knew that "saying sorry would never be enough."
What is life like now for the victim? In her victim statement, the girl's mother disclosed the 'animosity' the girl feels towards Davison. She has suffered both physically and mentally as a result of this incident, her mother said.
The victim uses a wheelchair and has had to take anti-psychotic medication after feeling suicidal and suffering from anxiety. She goes through periods of being deeply concerned for others and worries her brother will suffer from the same injuries she did. : Woman was lined up and shot at during years of 'horrific' abuse
The girl is not able to go to a mainstream school and 'will never catch up' with her peers in terms of educational attainment. Her mother said: "She is aware of the life she had before and how this incident has changed her. "She looks through social media at videos of her dancing and on holiday.
"She retains a desire to travel but the reality is she many never do this again." What did the police and the judge say about Davison's actions? Sentencing, her honour Judge Real told Davison: "There was a lack of concentration in your driving, that much was obvious.
"You demonstrated a lack of regard for the risk your driving posed to others. "Her [the girl's] injuries are life-changing. "I take into account you have expressed remorse genuinely but your driving and subsequent actions showed an absence of taking responsibility."
Judge Real sentenced Davison to up to three-and-a-half years in prison for causing serious injury by dangerous driving and perverting the course of justice. Once released, he will be banned from driving for five years. : Ambulance crews spotted queuing outside hospital
Investigating officer, PC Mark Dunne of the Serious Collision Investigation Unit, said: "I am satisfied that Davison has been sentenced and finally admitted to his crimes. "He drove recklessly and dangerously, injuring a child in the process. His actions caused her life-changing injuries for which she is undergoing ongoing medical care and treatment for.
"What makes this crime even worse, was that Davison drove away from the scene with no care to the girl he had left fighting for her life, carried on with his days' work, and to make matters even worse he then tried to fabricate a story that his truck had been stolen. "I hope that Davison's conviction and sentencing brings some comfort to the family of the victim. "I would also like pay tribute to the family and thank them for their support through the investigation."
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