A YARNTON 21-year-old was spared a driving ban over “high jinks” in the snow that led to a friend suffering a fractured skull.
Thomas Evans was using deserted Water Eaton park and ride as a “racing track” with friends when the accident happened, a judge at Oxford Crown Court heard on Thursday.
A sledge was attached to the rear of his flat-bed Ford Transit with two people in it and more on the back of the truck on January 18, last year, said prosecutor Matthew Walsh.
But the three standing up on the flatbed were injured when it went under a height barrier, striking the back of their heads, he said.
Jordan Spicer suffered a fracture to the back of the skull behind the right ear but none of the men wanted to press charges, Judge Mary-Jane Mowat heard.
Evans of Meadow Way previously admitted causing serious injury by dangerous driving, an offence only introduced a month before the incident.
David Rhodes, defending, said: “This is a case really of juvenile high jinks, of lads messing around in the snow.
“Had Jordan Spicer been injured in the course of a tobogganing accident, it would have been put down to stupid lads who should have known better.”
He said friends told Evans to leave and paramedics were called and the 8.55pm accident at the facility, near Kidlington, was reported to police.
The group’s wish to take “collective responsibility” was reflected in letters to the judge, including Mr Spicer, that urged Evans not be punished, he said.
This should be considered as “special circumstances” in not imposing the two-year driving ban the offence carries, he said.
Evans set up a breakdown recovery business in 2012 and his licence is essential for this, he said.
It was “the turning point of his life” after depression and anger problems following family deaths, including a newborn brother in 2001, he said.
He said: “He has worked incredibly hard to build it up. He works seven days a week.”
Judge Mowat said the case was “very unusual”, adding that the actions of the groups were “silly but, in a way, understandable”.
Pointing out the vehicle was travelling at less than five miles an hour, she said the accident was “just a moment of folly and inattention”.
She said: “This is an exceptional case where I can spare you the consequences of disqualification.”
Evans was sentenced to a community order with a supervision requirement of six months with 100 hours unpaid work, six points on his licence and £300 costs.