A 'COCKY' new driver who narrowly escaped death when he crashed head-on into another car was told he had 'ruined' his own life.

Ben Perrins crashed into another driver while overtaking two vans near Worcester and had to be airlifted to hospital, only surviving thanks to the Midlands Air Ambulance and skilled medical staff who reconstructed his face.

The driver of the other car feared she would die in the crash but ultimately suffered less serious injuries than the defendant.

The 23-year-old of Trench Lane, Dunhampstead, Droitwich had already admitted dangerous driving before he was sentenced at Worcester Crown Court on Friday.

Perrins was driving a Citroen C3 when he overtook two vans - a Ford Transit and a Mercedes Luton van - on a sweeping left hand bend, smashing head-on into a Mitsubishi car travelling in the opposite direction.

The crash happened on the B4082 at Upton Snodsbury, near Worcester on Thursday April 26 last year at around 6.30pm.

Judge Jim Tindal said: "This is a useful and sobering example of what happens when drivers of all ages, but particularly relatively inexperienced drivers, behave in an arrogant and cocky way and think they can drive however the mood takes them."

James Dunstan, prosecuting, said the 'misguided and extremely dangerous overtaking manoeuvre' took place on a sweeping left hand bend near Naunton Court.

Neither of the drivers were speeding on the 60mph road, the road was dry and there was no mechanical defect with Perrins's car.

The driver of the Mitsubishi said: "To my horror I was confronted by a small blue-coloured car. Everything happened in a split second. I don't recall having a chance to brake."

Mr Dunstan described how the defendant's Citroen 'went up in the air' upon impact.

"The defendant was extremely seriously injured" said Mr Dunstan.

He suffered injuries to his nose, bruising across the chest and injuries to the ankle and hips. He was cut from his car and airlifted to Walsgrave Hospital.

The driver of the Mitsubishi suffered what were described as 'reasonably serious whiplash injuries' and was also taken to hospital by ambulance. The injuries were not serious enough to charge Perrins with causing serious injuries by dangerous driving.

Judith Kenney, for Perrins, said her client had been driving less than year when the crash happened, passing his test in May of the previous year, and had suffered 'physical disability' as a result of his injuries.

Miss Kenney said: "On his behalf I would like to thank the Midlands Air Ambulance who saved his life together with others and the maxillofacial surgeons at the University Hospitals Coventry and Warwickshire. He knows without them he would not be here."

Miss Kenney also said Perrins was 'very remorseful' and apologised to the driver of the Mitsubishi.

Judge Jim Tindal told Perrins: "You are right to apologise to that lady because she certainly thought for that split second that she might even die as a result of the collision.

"That memory will stay with her. Frankly the real lesson to be drawn from this for anyone who reads about this case is what you have done to your own life by driving in this way.

"But for the air ambulance and the medical team, which you quite properly thank through Miss Kenney, you would be dead. You would be dead at a young age for making a split second stupid decision."

The judge told Perrins that the case crossed the custody threshold but added: "You have already and will continue to serve for the rest of your life punishment for doing what you did."

He argued that because of his injuries it was unnecessary and disproportionate to send him to prison, that he was at a low risk of reoffending and that there was a realistic prospect of rehabilitation.

The judge sentenced him to 12 months in prison suspended for two years and banned him from driving for two years. Perrins must complete an extended driving retest. He was further ordered to pay £340 costs.

Judge Tindal added: "You are an object lesson in what happens when people drive stupidly. Sometimes they ruin other people's lives. Sometimes they ruin their own. You have changed yours forever."

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