Derbyshire man left elderly couple wheelchair-bound when he hit them head-on in drunken smash

A Derbyshire man who left an elderly couple wheelchair-bound when he ploughed his black Audi into them head-on while drunk has been jailed.

Thursday, 4th February 2021, 2:30 pm

Moments before Gary Franklyn hit the couple, he had hit another vehicle from behind and also narrowly missed other cars and a cyclist as he travelled along the middle of the A6 at Rowsley on May 20 last year.

The couple, who were described in the court as “fit and healthy” suffered multiple injuries, including multiple broken ribs and ankles, and had to be cut from their Mercedes.

The male occupant also suffered a bleed to the brain, spent more than three weeks in hospital, and may have to give up the business he had dedicated his life to, Derby Crown Court heard on Wednesday, February 3.

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Gary Franklyn has been jailed after he left two elderly people in wheelchairs

The female, who went to the gym three times a week and travelled the world extensively, was in hospital for around four weeks and had to move in with her daughter to be cared for.

Franklyn, 35, of Highfield Drive, Bakewell, also spent around a month in hospital and suffered multiple broken ribs and a fractured pelvis and ankle.

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The court also heard that the couple were trapped inside the vehicle, the male unconscious, and the female fearing he was dead and that their car was about to set on fire. Passers-by came to their rescue, including a doctor who was cycling in the area.

Prosecuting, Leanne Summers told the court that Franklyn had waved at the driver of the first vehicle he struck, as an acknowledgement, but then carried on driving.

Describing the female victim, she said: “She can now walk about 10 feet using a Zimmer frame”, adding: “She wants to get back to how she used to be, but she doesn’t feel that she will ever be the same again.”

Describing the male victim, she said: “He feels that he will have to pack up work and sell his business, and for a while he felt that the best thing he could do would be to end his life.”

Franklyn had admitted drink driving, failing to stop and causing serious injury by dangerous driving when he first appeared before Chesterfield Magistrates’ Court on December 11.

Mitigating, Joe Harvey said: “He reminds himself every day that he is responsible for the ordeal that they have to endure. He’s not in a position to know why he was driving that day but he was not fit to be behind the wheel and he recognises that.”

Sentencing Franklyn, who had a previous conviction for drink driving, to two years in prison, Judge Robert Egbuna said: “The woman looked to her right and her husband was not responding and she thought that he had passed away. He thought that a fire was about to start and that the car would inevitably blow up.

“She recalls seeing your black vehicle travelling on the wrong side of the road and in front of her. Then there was a collision and everything came to a sudden stop and she felt excruciating pain in her ankles.”

He also gave Franklyn a four-year driving ban, which will not begin until he is released from prison.

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