A truck driver left with life-changing injuries after a horror crash states that he bears no malice towards the man who was responsible and jailed.
David Lewis was driving his vehicle on an unlit stretch of road at approximately 1.50am on March 20, 2020, when a van on the wrong side of the road collided with him head on.
Both drivers needed to be cut free from the wreckage of their vehicles in Lutterworth and Mr Lewis suffered fractures to his spine, neck, rib and sternum, brain injuries, internal bleeding and optical nerve damage, Leicestershire Live reports.
The other driver Constantin Muscalu, who suffered fractures to both of his arms, his spine and shoulder, had driven over 1,000 miles from Northern Spain in the space of 34 hours. He has now been locked up for 20 months and banned from the road for two years and ten months after he admitted to a charge of causing serious injury by dangerous driving.
Mr Lewis has not recovered from the injuries he suffered in the crash and said that at times, he was in so much pain that he almost wished he had died.
Yet he does not carry a grudge against Muscalu.
He said: “I’d have shaken his hand, if I’d been allowed in court, to let him know there’s no bad feeling.
“It was an accident, a serious mistake and I know he didn’t mean to cause what happened.
“It’s a miracle I’ve recovered enough to be able to attend court.”
Mr Lewis’ partner, Hayley Bethel, was his carer for many months and both of them are receiving counseling following the incident.
She said: “Our lives have been ruined, but we didn’t want him to go to prison.
“We’ve both got families.”
Mr Lewis has been unable to return to the lorry driving job he loved and the future remains unclear, with ongoing treatment.
He said he thought Mascalu’s sentence was “the best he was gonna get” given his Romanian nationality.
He said: “We went in and the police said he’d got a suspended sentence.
“Its the best he’s gonna get because he doesn’t live in the country, but looking back it feels like justice has been served.
“If he had got a suspended sentence, it would have been like nothing had happened to him, where I’ve still got a lifetime of injuries to deal with.”
Mr Lewis said he is still suffering from back pains and is waiting for another operation on his shoulder, mentioning his brain injury is also “making things harder than it used to be.”
He added: “I just want to get my life back really. The support I’ve had from family and friends has been amazing. The support from my partner Hayley has been out of this world.
“I’ve closure from it so we want to move on with our lives hopefully.”
Mr Lewis, then aged 45, was delivering NHS supplies on his way from a Rugby depot to make deliveries to Leicester’s Glenfield and General hospitals at the time of the crash.
A GPS history of the Muscalu’s van showed he left Spain 34 hours before the crash and during that time he was driving for 22 hours and 17 minutes, covering 1,063 miles.
His longest continuous spell of driving was for four hours and 34 minutes and his longest break being two hours and 44 minutes – which the judge suggested might have been the ferry crossing to the UK.
A crash investigator’s report showed Muscalu failed to see road markings near Lutterworth Golf Club or an illuminated ‘keep left’ bollard before the collision. Mr Lewis was found to be no way at fault for the crash.
Mr Lewis said that he hopes his case will lead to a change in the rules surrounding breaks which need to be taken by drivers of smaller commercial vehicles, who do not face the same strict regulations as LGV drivers and may be tempted to press on with long journeys and ignore tiredness.
Neil Bannister, prosecuting Muscalu at Leicester Crown Court, said: “The defendant was on the wrong side of the road, creating a substantial risk of danger, for a few seconds, or more.
“He must have been tired after a 1000-plus mile journey from Northern Spain with no evidence of any proper sleep.”
Chloe Ashley, mitigating, said Muscalu offered his “sincerest apologies” to Mr Lewis, his partner and their son for the harm caused, physically and psychologically.
She said the defendant was the sole provider for his wife and four children and going into custody would put the family’s rented accommodation at risk in Prahova, Romania.
Miss Ashley said: “He accepts it was a gross error of judgement.”
“His employer has described him as a model employee.”
Sentencing, Judge Ebrahim Mooncey said: “This is a very sad case and you’re a hard working family man.
“On this occasion you worked more hours than you should have done and it clearly affected your concentration.
“Mr Lewis is also a hard working person, doing important duties on that morning and he suffered terrible injuries, from which he clearly still suffers.
“I accept your remorse is genuine.
“This case is too serious for anything other than immediate custody.”
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