May 18 2013 Latest news:
Friday, February 22, 2013
This was the scene of devastation after a drink-driver smashed into a teenage biker on the A12 at Gorleston, causing a four vehicle pile-up.
Innocent Kyle Funnell, 19, was on his way to sit an exam at Great Yarmouth College when uninsured Taurius Lekavicius, 24, screeched into the back of him.
Lekavicius, of Beccles Road, Gorleston, had finished a shift at work at 5am and decided to enjoy beers with friends before getting behind the wheel, Great Yarmouth Magistrates’ Court heard.
And he was spotted undertaking at speeds of up to 80mph in a 50mph limit before the crash.
Kyle, of Selwyn Drive, Belton, hit the windscreen of the VW Golf driven by Lekavicius and flew 15ft along the fast lane, breaking a bone in his shoulder and injuring his neck.
Now Kyle has told of the nightmare that unfolded by the Harfrey’s roundabout shortly after 9am on February 6.
He had brought his bike to a stop in a queue of traffic by the roundabout when he became aware that something was wrong.
“I heard a screeching coming from behind me, so I looked in the mirror and there was nothing there,” he told the Mercury. “Then I looked in my right mirror and I saw it coming - then it hit me.
“I don’t remember going from my seat to where I landed on the road, but I was told it was 15ft. I remember tumbling in the outside lane.”
He said paramedics arriving at the scene were expecting him to be dead when the incident was radioed to them.
“I couldn’t move my arm at all or stand up,” said Kyle. “I’ve never been in that much pain before.
“There was a lorry and a bus and the drivers were both helping.
“All I remember is a paramedic came and put a neck brace on me and put me on a stretcher.
“The paramedic said to me she thought I was going to be dead.
“Everyone was surprised really - I’m quite lucky to be honest.”
Three people were taken to hospital after the crash, Wednesday’s court hearing heard.
Lekavicius claimed he did not see the motorbike until it was too late.
Police, fire crews and ambulances attended and the road was shut for more than two hours.
The motorbike was “more than likely a write-off” and Kyle was taken to the James Paget University Hospital with neck and shoulder injuries.
The bike shunted into a Vauxhall Astra, and this in turn hit the Renault Clio in front - damaging both cars and injuring both drivers.
Kyle says he is lucky to be alive, but the damage went beyond his injuries.
“I was thinking ‘what if, what if’,” he said. “If it had been a different angle I could have got stuck between the cars or broken both my legs.
“When it first happened I couldn’t feel my arm and I was just looking after myself at that point. Then reality hit me and I was just gutted.”
He bought his Honda 125XL bike in November 2012 for £1,200. He had saved up cash from his part-time job at Cliff Park Contractors to buy it, the rest of his hours spent studying electrical installation at college.
The bike is severely damaged and as Lekavicius was uninsured it is hitting Kyle in the pocket.
To add insult to injury he must pay recovery bills for his mangled bike - a £150 removal charge, £10 per day it was with the recovery firm, and a £50 disposal charge.
It is understood these would normally be claimed from the insurance of the driver at fault.
Compensation can be ordered when Lekavicius is sentenced today - once reports are compiled.
At Wednesday’s court hearing Gary Mayle, prosecuting, said one witness - a minibus driver - saw “a small foreign car undertaking at high speed”.
He added the left-hand drive VW Golf was travelling at around 80mph in a 50mph limit.
“The vehicle then pulled into his lane,” said Mr Mayle. “He [the minibus driver] said he never saw any brake lights come on and it continued towards the roundabout intending to drive straight over. There was a motorbike in front, he didn’t brake and drove straight into it.”
When police officers arrived they approached the vehicle driven by Lekavicius.
“Straight away he said ‘I’m fine’ and straight away the officer smelt alcohol,” said Mr Mayle. “Asked if he had been drinking, he said ‘yes’.”
Mr Mayle added the defendant said: “I’m responsible for this.”
His roadside breath sample was 78mcg of alcohol in 100ml of breath - double the legal limit of 35mcg - and by the time he got to the police station it had risen to 95mcg of alcohol.
Lekavicius had told officers at the scene: “I finished my shift around 5am and had some beer with some friends. I felt fine.”
Asked why he was drink-driving, he told the court: “I’m stupid.”
The vehicle driven by Lekavivius was “rented”.
He added: “In my country we insure the car not the driver.”
The Lithuanian - who was unrepresented - pleaded guilty to drink-driving and driving without insurance.
Chairman of the bench Michael Gooderson handed him an interim driving ban and adjourned sentence until today at 9.30am while a report is prepared.
“It was a high speed accident, it was erratic driving, there were four vehicles involved in the pile-up and three victims were seriously injured and had to go to hospital,” said Mr Gooderson. “The overall disregard for members of the public and UK law takes the seriousness of this offence into the custodial.”