A DRINK and drug-driver tried to impress youngsters by speeding at up to 100mph on a residential street, before a “catastrophic crash” in which he left three passengers injured, one seriously, in the back seat.
Lewis Stores ignored requests from passengers to slow down moments before losing control of his Ford Focus, careering into pavement street furniture and ploughing into a bus shelter at 5am on April 2.
Just before the crash, Stores, who was jailed for 32 months yesterday, told his passengers “Watch this”.
Stores and his front seat passenger fled from the wreckage on Clyde Terrace, Spennymoor, but a passer-by freed two passengers from the car, but the third, a 14-year-old boy, suffered multiple fractures and other injuries and was airlifted to Newcastle’s Royal Victoria Infirmary.
Durham Crown Court was told as 20-year-old Stores was arrested at home almost double the drink-driving limit and with cocaine in his system two hours after the crash, the boy underwent emergency surgery for fractures to his left leg and arm, wrist and fingers.
Ian West, prosecuting, said while the boy came close to having to have an arm amputated due to a loss of blood flow, Stores, of Salisbury Crescent, West Cornforth, admitted to police he had been drinking at a house party in Middlestone Moor, Spennymoor.
The boy spent a month in hospital and the court heard, seven months on from the accident, he was still receiving treatment for nerve damage and skin grafts to his leg and arm, while he had lost dexterity in his wrist.
An impact statement from his mother, read to the court, said the boy still had some difficulty walking, as the recovering leg sometimes gave way, while he had only been able to attend school a few days a week.
Stores told police as he had a car, party-goers had asked him to drive to a petrol station for alcohol and drop some part-goers home.
Mr West said Stores began driving at excessive speed, “with an element of showing off” after leaving the petrol station.
A witness estimated the Focus to have reached up to 100mph on Clyde Terrace, while police experts concluded just before impact it was travelling at 72mph on the 30mph-limit street.
Stores admitted causing serious injury by dangerous driving, and drink and drug-driving.
Amrit Jandoo, mitigating, said Stores, of previous good character, had committed an “appalling piece of driving”.
Mr Jandoo said: “He had been at this house party, but it was at the request of others he was obliged to take others to petrol stations to buy more alcohol. But, by getting into the car he accepts he knew he was over the limit.
“Others getting into the car were impressed by this vehicle and in some ways he wanted to impress them with its speed and power, and that led to this moment of madness. When told to slow down he applied his brakes, but lost control.”
Mr Jandoo said after the impact, Stores panicked and fled, but by the time police called at his home there was “no prevarication”.
Judge Simon Hickey said more than just one passenger could have suffered catastrophic injuries as a result, and it was only down to the skill of the surgeons that the long-term consequences were not worse for the most badly affected passenger.
Stores was also banned from driving for four years and four months.