18-year-old driver jailed after crashing into five pedestrians

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A driver has been jailed for three years and three months after crashing into five men on a pavement, leaving them with life-changing physical and emotional injuries.

Max Maxwell had only passed his driving test the week before the incident and had taken his father’s BMW without permission.

The 18-year-old lost control of the car after performing an overtake at high speed as he approached then entered a roundabout in Furtherwick Road, Canvey.

It swung onto the wrong side of the road, almost colliding with an oncoming vehicle, before mounting the footpath and ploughing into the pedestrians.

The men, who are all friends, had been enjoying a day out on Saturday, April 14 and were on their way to watch the Grand National at a local pub.

Maxwell fled from the scene without stopping to check on their welfare.

Officers searched for him before he eventually handed himself almost 20 hours later.

Maxwell, of Small Gains Avenue, Canvey, appeared at Basildon Crown Court on July 4 where he pleaded guilty to three counts of causing serious injury by dangerous driving, one count of assault occasioning actual bodily harm (ABH), one count of aggravated vehicle taking and one count of driving without insurance.

© Essex Police

At court today, Monday July 23, he pleaded guilty to a further count of assault occasioning actual bodily harm.

He was sentenced to three years and three months in a young offenders institution for the serious injury by dangerous driving charges, one year for aggravated vehicle taking, to run concurrently, and 18 months for the ABH charges, also to run concurrently.

No separate penalty was given for the insurance charge but his licence was endorsed.

Maxwell was also banned from driving for a total of five years, seven months and two weeks and must take an extended driving test when the ban has ended.

The victims, who are all aged in their 20s, have been discharged from hospital and are recovering from their injuries at home.

Speaking after today’s hearing, senior investigating officer Sergeant Steve Holmes, of the Serious Collision Investigation Unit, said: “Max Maxwell took his father’s car without permission then drove it in such a manner that he endangered the lives of the public.

“He ploughed into the five men, causing some horrific life-changing injuries and ongoing emotional and psychological trauma.

“He had absolutely no concern for them whatsoever and ran away. He then hid from us for almost 20 hours before handing himself in.

© Essex Police

“The footage of the collision that we have released today is shocking. It is a miracle that none of the victims were killed.

“I would like to thank them and their families for being patient and understanding throughout this investigation. They have conducted themselves with great dignity, despite having endured the most horrific ordeal.

“I would like to thank members of the public who assisted them at the scene and my police officer and PCSO colleagues who responded to the incident that day or were involved in the investigation.

“I also want to thank staff from the East of England Ambulance Service and the crews of the three air ambulances who treated the victims at the scene.

“As a thank you for saving their lives, they have set up a fundraising page for the Essex and Herts Air Ambulance and have so far raised around £10,000, which is a fantastic achievement.”

The fundraising page can be found at https://www.justgiving.com/fundraising/airambulanceappeal