UK: Zim care worker in coma 23 days after horrific road crash with drug-driver
YORK, England: A woman from the Cumbria town of Penrith now walks with a limp after suffering terrible injuries in a road crash caused by a motorist heading home from work at Kendal Calling music festival.
Dean Shakespeare (45) was driving eastbound in a Nissan Qashqai which veered suddenly from lane two of a dual carriageway section into collision with a Fiat Panda preparing to leave a lay-by.
Fiat driver Caroline Musimwa had recently relocated to Penrith, and was travelling to visit her sister in Cambridge at 4-30pm on Monday, 1st August, 2022.
“Around Stainmore, she decided that the scenery was reminiscent of home in Zimbabwe and stopped in a layby to take photographs to show her sister,” prosecutor Brendan Burke told Carlisle Crown Court. “She remembers walking back to her car, and waking up in hospital 23 days later.”
Musimwa was rendered unconscious by what one lorry driver witness called a “massive impact” as the Qashqai shunted her car up an embankment. Paramedics initially struggled to find a pulse before she was airlifted to Middlesbrough’s James Cook University Hospital.
She suffered multiple serious injuries which included eight rib fractures, kidney damage and a ruptured diaphragm. Doctors placed her in an induced coma. Her spleen was removed and a lung drained.
Dash cam footage from a lorry captured the sickening crash. Shakespeare suffered bruising in the collision and was described by witnesses looking “distant” and “vacant” in the aftermath. He later admitted causing serious injury by dangerous driving and drug-driving. He accepted feeling unwell during his journey home after four 12-hour festival shifts as an artist liaison manager.
A test showed Shakespeare was over the legal driving limit for illegal drug ecstasy. Judge Nicholas Barker concluded that he had not knowingly ingested the substance, hearing he had accepted and consumed a “fizzy drink” he believed to be water the previous evening. But the judge concluded he was “significantly unwell” and fatigued while driving home.
Shakespeare had told the court: “I would like to apologise to Ms Musimwa for any injuries that have happened to her from this accident.”
As Shakespeare was sentenced, an impact statement provided by Ms Musimwa outlined the profound and ongoing impact of her injuries. She now walked with a limp, was medicated with morphine for persistent pain, had day-to-day memory deficits and her work as a carer remained affected. “She describes walking as little as a mile as having become a mammoth task,” said Mr Burke.
After hearing mitigation, Judge Barker concluded there was a realistic prospect of rehabilitation. He suspended a 24-month jail term for two years.
Shakespeare, of South View Terrace, York, must complete 240 hours’ unpaid work and abide by a night-time curfew. He was banned from consuming alcohol for 56 days and handed a 30-month driving ban. He must complete an extended re-test.