A MOTORIST’S decision to attempt to overtake led to “devastating consequences” for an oncoming driver and his own son.

Craig Allen was driving a Kia Venga which collided head-on with a Vauxhall Astra, on the A68 near Witton-le-Wear, at 7.30am on September 13, 2018.

Astra driver, Nick Copson, from Woodland, in Teesdale, suffered what Durham Crown Court heard were “catastrophic” injuries .

He was cut free from the wreckage and airlifted from the scene in a critical condition with life-changing injuries, including a broken back, crushed torso and punctured lungs.

The 46-year-old chef remained in a coma for five weeks and underwent surgery, including a double leg amputation, amid lengthy treatment at Middlesbrough’s James Cook University Hospital, but has been left paralysed with numerous other medical complications.

He was travelling to work as chef manager at Harperley Hall College of Policing, near Crook, while the defendant, was driving to work at an engineering company in Newton Aycliffe.

His son, Oscar, was a passenger, who was going to be dropped off at college.

Both cars were being driven at about t60-miles per hour, in opposite directions, but Allen pulled out to attempt to overtake two vehicle, including a lorry, in a hatched area.

Paul Rooney, prosecuting, said despite trying to drive around the oncoming Astra, he could not avoid the collision.

He also had to be cut free from his car and required hospital treatment as did his seriously injured son.

Allen, 46, of Front Street, Stanhope, admitted careless driving prior to the accident, but denied two counts of causing serious injury by dangerous driver.

But, on the second day of his trial, under cross-examination by Mr Rooney, he conceded the manner of his overtaking manoeuvre was, “dangerous”.

He changed his plea and admitted causing serious injury by dangerous driving.

An impact statement given by Mr Copson’s wife, Nikki, heard she thought she was going to lose her husband, and “soul mate”, almost on a daily basis, for the following 11 weeks, as he endured the huge knock-on effects of the impact, including full-blown sepsis, multi-organ failure, infections and dialysis, followed by the amputations.

Michael Hayton QC, in mitigation, said the defendant’s driving was, “of course, dangerous, taking place over a period of seconds.”

Imposing a 38-month prison sentence Judge James Adkin told Allen: “Mr Copson was left with utterly catastrophic injuries which have clearly changed his life.

“Your line of sight must have been compromised by the two vehicles in front.

“But you took it into your head to attempt to overtake in that hatched area, with devastating effect.”

Allen was banned from driving for 67 months.

The judge also praised witness Gemma Wood, for her commendable actions, offering assistance to all three casualties prior to the arrival of the emergency services.

Formally commending her, he said she should be awarded £500 from public funds.