'We don't know if he will recover' - man left paralysed after A47 crash with horsebox
PUBLISHED: 08:15 14 August 2019 | UPDATED: 11:19 14 August 2019
A man has been left paralysed after suffering a stroke when his car was struck by a horsebox on the A47.
And his passengers said they had been denied closure as the driver who hit them showed "no remorse".
Jamie Eglen was banned from driving for four months at Norwich Magistrates Court on Tuesday after admitting driving without due care and attention.
It was shortly after midday on January 12 when two couples - Peter and Gaynor Garrood and Adrian and Fran Snowling - were driving in a BMW from Brundall to the White Horse at Upton.
As they went to turn off at Acle they were struck from behind by an orange Fiat horsebox, driven by Eglen, 49.
He was carrying a horse and had his young son in the vehicle.
The BMW flipped onto its roof and ended in a ditch, trapping the two women in the back.
Members of the public and off-duty emergency workers rushed to help. They were able to turn the car back onto its wheels and care for the women, who had to be cut from the car by firefighters.
At first glance the occupants suffered just "cuts and bruises", but immediately after driver Mr Garrood was discharged from care, he collapsed at his front door.
He was rushed back to hospital where it was discovered he had suffered a stroke, prosecutor Stacie Cossey told the court.
Eglen, of Back Lane, Stanfield, near Dereham, was uninjured in the collision, and told the court he had done "the best I could in the situation".
"With a horse on you can't just slam on the brakes or swerve because the horse is worth a lot of money," he said.
"I have driven all my life and this is the first time that has ever happened to me. With my horse and my boy on board you have to drive with caution.
"I got over as far as I could but there was nowhere for me to go. If I had slammed on the brakes or swerved it could have been fatal for the horse or my boy.
"I took what action I could and I couldn't stop quick enough."
But he admitted he could have given the BMW more room.
"If I didn't have a horse on I probably could have stopped sooner," he said. "I could say I could have given more room but if I did that all the time I would never get the horse delivered or get the job done."
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Mr Garrood was rushed to Addenbrooke's Hospital in Cambridge.
A week later he was transferred to the Norfolk and Norwich Hospital where he spent two months, then four months at Norwich Community Hospital.
He is now in a wheelchair and is paralysed down one side.
After the hearing, Mr Snowling, 65, said: "We don't know if he will recover".
He had been in the front passenger seat and explained he and Mr Garrood had managed to escape the car.
"Peter was out and about talking to the incident commander - he was in shock but seemed fine otherwise," he said.
"We went to hospital and were released after X-rays and Gaynor's gash had been stitched. We got a taxi back to our house and within minutes we got a phone call to say Peter had collapsed at his front door.
"His carotid artery had been torn and all the time he had been fussing about everybody else he had been bleeding internally."
Mrs Snowling, 61, added: "Peter had seemed more worried about the two of us in the back of the car.
"We were in the car for two hours and fire crews cut us out. A complete stranger had stopped and held my head through the back seat because they were so worried we might have spinal injuries.
"A passing paramedic came and sat in front of me to make sure I wasn't moving. A doctor came and was looking after Gaynor - people were absolutely amazing."
Mr Snowling added the sentence "seemed minimal" for what had happened.
"It has changed our friend's life and our lives as well."
And Mrs Snowling said: "We came here for some closure but I am more upset because he didn't show any remorse."
Chairman of the bench Darren Gilkes told Eglen the incident could have ended in death.
"You were concerned about the horse and someone else in your car," he said.
"It is more important to avoid injury to other people rather than the horse in the back of your vehicle."
Eglen was banned from driving for four months and was fined £115 and ordered to pay costs of £85 and a victim surcharge of £85.