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Kent man jailed for causing serious injury by dangerous driving

A man has been jailed after he crashed his car into a house in Canterbury and fled the scene, leaving one of his passengers trapped in the vehicle fighting for her life.

Canterbury Crown Court heard how Christopher Godden was driving his grey Volkswagen Golf in Fordwich when the collision took place just before midnight on 1st June last year.

Two friends in the car with Mr Godden at the time – a 26-year-old woman and a 30-year-old man, told police that the music being played in the car was particularly loud and Godden was driving at excessive speeds which made them feel uncomfortable. The court also heard how Mr Godden’s male passenger asked him to slow down.

As Mr Godden approached a junction, he lost control of his vehicle and collided head-on with a house. Following the incident, Mr Godden fled the scene leaving his female passenger trapped inside the car and fighting for her life.

She was later taken to a London hospital where her injuries were said to be both serious and life-changing, while the male passenger was treated at a local hospital - also for a serious injury.

On the day following the crash, 2nd June 2018, Mr Godden took himself to a local police station and admitted to driving the vehicle at the time of the incident. He also admitted he was under the influence of cocaine whilst driving the car, and claimed he fled the scene due to 'shock'.

Following blood tests, it was revealed that Mr Godden was three times over the prescribed limit for the drug BZE - a metabolite of cocaine - which police believe was a factor in the collision.

PC James Galbraith, the officer in charge of the case, said: “Godden not only put his passengers’ lives in danger with his thoughtless actions, he failed to even phone for an ambulance to get help for his seriously injured friend.

“Instead of coming to the aid of his friends he ran away, leaving them in considerable pain and in need of urgent medical assistance. His actions were beyond cowardly.”

He added: “His victim will have to live with the consequences of his recklessness for the rest of her life.

“She is still receiving treatment and unfortunately she will not ever fully recover from the injuries she sustained.”

Mr Godden was jailed for two-years and eight-months for one count of causing serious injury by dangerous driving on 3rd May 2019. The 28-year-old was also jailed for 12-months for the second count which will run concurrently with the sentence.

Sami Palmer-Latif, Personal Injury Solicitor here at Potter Rees Dolan, comments:

Due to the reckless actions of the driver, he caused his passengers to suffer serious injuries that will likely have lasting effects on their level of function and quality of life. The toxicology findings indicate that he had consumed an illegal substance that is known to affect driving behaviour and judgment, thereby putting his own life and that of others at risk.

As a road user, the driver owed a common law duty of care towards his passengers to drive in accordance with the standard of a reasonably competent driver and yet his conduct demonstrably fell far short of this. Should they wish to do so, the injured passengers will be able to seek damages for the personal injuries and losses they have suffered as a consequence of the accident either through the driver’s insurers or the Motor Insurers Bureau, depending on the facts.

Read how we secured compensation for a man who suffered a serious head injury following road traffic accident.

Read how Personal Injury solicitors secured over £1 million for woman left brain-injured after head-on collision.

Sami Palmer-Latif is a personal injury solicitor with Potter Rees Dolan. Should you have any queries about personal injury issues and wish to speak with Sami or any other member of the team please contact us on 0161 237 5888.