HGV driver almost had to have his leg amputated after crash
When HGV driver Mark Fowler was returning to base he slowed down for a junction only to have a cement mixer plough straight into him. And it emerged the driver of the 18-tonne cement mixer, Daniel Summerfield, was distracted as he was on his mobile phone. Summerfield was too late to avoid a stationary vehicle in front of him as he drove on the A403 on December 22, 2020, and swerved around it straight into the path of Mr Fowler.
Mr Fowler, 54, from Patchway, was seriously hurt in the smash and hasn't worked since. He told Bristol Live: "It happened in a 100th of a second. There was a road sweeper turning.
All of a sudden the HGV was there and through my cab. It is lucky he hit my lorry and not a family of four in a saloon - he would have driven over it and taken their heads off." READ NEXT:Biggest jail terms at Bristol Crown Court so far this year
Summerfield, 27, of Cleveland Close in Thornbury, pleaded guilty to causing serious injury by dangerous driving. He appeared for sentence at Bristol Crown Court on Wednesday (June 29, 2022). Judge Michael Longman handed him two years' prison, suspended for two years.
He told Summerfield: "Mr Fowler suffered injuries which were life-changing and devastating. His driving was blameless."HGV driver Mark Fowler
Summerfield was banned from driving for five years and until he passes an extended driving test. He was ordered to do 300 hours' unpaid work.
Ehsanul Oarith, prosecuting, described how Mr Fowler, a driver of some 30 years experience, was heading back to his depot at Severn Beach when a cement mixer driven by Summerfield drove into him. Mr Oarith said: "He tried to swerve around it but there was no space and he was not able to. "Mr Fowler was trapped in his cab.
He had to be rescued by fire officers who attended the scene. "Fire officers attended to the defendant too. He was holding a phone in his hand and he refused to let go of the phone."
Later, after Summerfield provided his phone's P.I.N, the device went straight to Snapchat. Mr Oarith said: "The defendant accepted that he was using his phone just before the manoeuvre that led to the incident." The court heard Mr Fowler suffered fractures to both feet and both ankles, an open fracture to the right leg and knee and a fractured pelvis.
He remained in hospital for 13 days, underwent three operations to have titanium plates installed as well as skin grafts, and his recovery continues.HGV driver Mark Fowler had skin grafts after multiple leg fractures
He made an impact statement in which he said the worst moment was signing a consent form for the amputation of his right leg at the knee, were surgeons unable to remove metal shards in his limb. Thankfully immensely skilled surgeons won a battle to save the leg. Matthew Jackson, defending, said his client was full of remorse.
He told the court: "Very rarely one sees such a level of contrition and genuine, unabated remorse. "It is abundantly clear he has gone beyond accepting he was wrong. He has clear concern for what he knows he's done to the victim.
"He's offered to make amends. He's offered to apologise for what he's done." Mr Jackson said a "momentary distraction" caused the incident.
He said Summerfield, a man of previous good character, did not necessarily have to be punished by an immediate custodial sentence. After the hearing Mr Fowler added: "I thought it would have been immediate custody. I'm slightly disappointed.
"I remember an air ambulance arriving that day. When I asked 'why the helicopter?' the critical care team said 'we expect the worst, people in HGVs on HGVs don't normally come out well." Sign up for our new Bristol's Court Insider newsletter for the latest court and crime news - from arrests to trials and sentencings