Sheffield drunk driver who fractured single mother's spine in rush-hour horror crash is jailed

Greenland Road - Google MapsGreenland Road - Google Maps
Greenland Road - Google Maps
A Sheffield drink driver who binged on Moonshine, before causing two rush-hour crashes the latter of which left a single mum with a fractured spine and broken hip, has been jailed for over two years.

During Monday afternoon's sentencing, which had to be delayed several times due to Benjamin Hoole arriving at Sheffield Crown Court too drunk to be admitted, Recorder David Preston sentenced the 40-year-old to 32 months in prison for a string of motoring offences.

Sheffield Crown Court was told how Hoole, of Prince of Wales Road, Manor, was more than three times over the legal limit when he began driving his Fiat Scudo van down Greenland Road, Greenland at around 5.20pm on October 20 last year.

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Hoole's drunken driving was first noticed by other motorists a short time after, when he failed to move off when the set of traffic lights he was waiting at turned to green.

Prosecuting, Beverley Tate, told the court how after being beeped at by other road-users Hoole eventually began to move off.

She said: "The defendant nearly careered into another vehicle, before crashing into a silver Renault. The defendant was seen to reverse away from the vehicle, and then drove off into the road. He was seen to be weaving through other vehicles as they were stationary.

"He collided with the vehicle of a man, who collided with the vehicle in front of him."

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Ms Tate told the court how Joy Lancaster was sitting in the backseat of the second vehicle with one of her children when the crash took place.

The driver of the vehicle suffered whiplash and a cut to his head, while Ms Lancaster suffered a broken hip and fractured spine in the crash.

The court heard how Ms Lancaster had to have surgery for her broken hip, and has permanently lost the feeling in one of her legs. She is now reliant on a wheelchair when she leaves the house, and has been told by medics that she should not expect to be able to walk without crutches for at least a year.

In a victim impact statement read out in court, Ms Lancaster said: "My injuries are permanent. I'm likely to suffer early on-set arthritis.

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"I'm a single parent looking after my two-year-old, which I'm finding difficult. I cannot get out of the house without a wheelchair."

Hoole attempted to flee the scene of the second crash but was prevented from doing so as a result of the surrounding traffic.

The 40-year-old told officers that he could not remember the crashes taking place, and only realised what had happened when he woke up in a neck brace in hospital.

He also told officers that he had been drinking homemade Moonshine with some Polish friends the day before the accident, but denied drinking any alcohol on the day itself.

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Hoole admitted to a string of offences relating to the crashes including causing serious injury by dangerous driving, driving with excess alcohol, driving without insurance and driving without a license at an earlier hearing.

Defending, Richard Adams, told the court that Hoole's addiction to alcohol had blighted much of his life, and said the 40-year-old hoped to use his inevitable custodial sentence to rehabilitate himself.

During this afternoon's sentencing, which had to be delayed several times due to Hoole arriving at court too inebriated to be admitted by security staff, Recorder David Preston told Hoole that neither of the crashes he caused were fatal.

He said: "What you did was drive drunk on a dual carriageway in rush hour. Ms Lancaster suffered a fractured spine and a broken hip - all because of what you did.

"She should be able to travel as a passenger in a car, without fear."

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