A teenager has warned of the dangers of drink and drug driving after she was injured in a crash and had to be cut free from the wreckage when her ex crashed his car.
Sarah Cornish, 18, suffered a fractured spine, breaks to both her legs and a broken arm when the Ford Fiesta she was a passenger in collided with a parked vehicle.
The driver, Sarah’s former boyfriend Kieran Moore, 19, had been travelling at more than twice the speed limit when the crash happened in Fobbing, Thurrock.
He was found to be above the alcohol limit and had ketamine and benzoylecgonine – the main compound found in cocaine – in his system, Basildon Crown Court heard.
Sarah Cornish, 18, pictured, was stuck in the car’s wreckage for around an hour after the crash in Thurrock last May and had to be cut free by firefighters
Sarah, from South Ockendon, did not know her former boyfriend had been drinking or taking drugs when she got into the car.
On May 5 last year, Moore picked Ms Cornish up from her home at around 8.45pm to go out for the evening.
However, Sarah received a call from her pregnant sister, Emily, saying her waters had broken so he dropped her home. Sarah then went to the hospital with her family.
As Emily was in the early stages of labour, Sarah’s then-boyfriend picked her up from Basildon Hospital at approximately 11.15pm with two friends in his Fiesta.
They went to The Bull Thurrock Pub in Grays where Sarah spent time with her friends while Moore, of Stanford-le-Hope, played snooker in another room.
The pair and two friends left the pub in Moore’s Fiesta about 20 minutes later. As the car approached Fobbing High Road, Moore started to speed up.
Ms Cornish suffered a fractured spine, breaks to both her legs, left, and a broken arm, right, when the car she was a passenger in collided with a parked vehicle
Shortly afterwards the Fiesta hit a parked vehicle. Sarah was trapped in the wreckage for about an hour and had to be cut free by firefighters.
She was taken to Basildon Hospital and transferred to the Royal London Hospital because of her injuries.
She underwent surgery to insert metal rods and pins in her legs from her knee to her hips.
She spent ten days in hospital and her mother, Alicia Tilbury, had to take a month off from her job as a nursery nurse to care for Sarah.
Sarah was working as a business admin apprentice at the time of the accident.
Due to her injuries, she eventually returned to work on a part-time basis. However, she was let go by her employer in September 2018.
Sarah said: ‘I remember being in the car with my seatbelt on and then without warning, it suddenly started to speed up.
‘I do not remember the moment of impact but I have been told that the passenger side took all the impact.
Three firefighters had to cut Ms Cornish free from the wreckage and she was trapped for around an hour during the incident
‘I know I have many challenges ahead but I am determined to overcome my injuries the best I can.
‘I just hope that by speaking out drivers are aware of the misery they can cause by breaking the law. I would not have got in his car that night if I had known Kieran had been drinking and taking drugs.’
Following the crash, Sarah instructed expert serious injury lawyers at Irwin Mitchell to help her access the specialist rehabilitation and therapies she needs to overcome her injuries.
Sarah has now joined her legal team in warning of the consequences of drink and drug driving.
Imogen Lowden, specialist serious injury lawyer at Irwin Mitchell representing Sarah, said after Moore’s sentencing: ‘Sarah’s case is the latest example where people have suffered serious injuries as a result of selfish drivers who think it’s acceptable to get behind the wheel after drinking or taking drugs.
‘Driving while unfit through alcohol or drugs should have no place in society today.
‘Sarah has made tremendous progress so far in her recovery but still faces many challenges to overcome her injuries the best she can. We will continue to support Sarah throughout her recovery.’
Moore, who is no longer in a relationship with Sarah, previously pleaded guilty to two counts of causing serious injury by dangerous driving, two counts of drug driving and one count of drink driving.
Another charge of causing actual bodily harm to another passenger, which Moore denied, was allowed to lie on file.
He was sentenced to three years in prison at Basildon Crown Court, and he will serve half his sentence before he is released on licence.
Moore also received a five-and-a-half year driving ban and will have to take an extended re-test once that ban expires.