Drug-fuelled Houghton Regis driver jailed after head-on crash

A reckless driver has been jailed over two and a half years after a head-on smash into a car with three children inside.

Tuesday, 7th June 2016, 1:14 pm
Updated Tuesday, 7th June 2016, 2:32 pm
Kelly Bramwell
Kelly Bramwell

Kelly Bramwell, 36, had smoked crack cocaine at friend Robert McCanlis’s home before taking his Ford Fiesta out for a drive on January 31, 2015.

Bramwell, of Milton Way, Houghton Regis, did not have a full licence and was driving on the wrong side of the A5120 when she turned a sharp bend at between 38 and 41mph.

The Fiesta ploughed head-on into an Audi being driven by Shelley Hatchett, who was taking her 8-year-old son and nephew and niece Callum Reeves, 9, and Isabel Reeves, 5, to a party.

The force of the collision sent both cars rotating and the Audi landed in a hedgerow.

At Luton Crown Court today, Judge Philip Bartle QC observed: “It’s a miracle no-one was killed.”

Appearing in crutches, Bramwell said: “I think you should give me the maximum sentence.

“I lost a child myself and I can’t apologise enough for being so irresponsible. I’m so, so sorry.”

After repeated disruptions, Bramwell was allowed by the judge to go down to the cells midway during sentencing.

Judge Bartle QC sentenced her to 32 months in prison for causing serious injury by dangerous driving to three victims, Shelley Hatchett, Callum Reeves and Robert McCanlis.

Following the collision at 2.30pm, members of a local rugby club came to help the family in the Audi. Mrs Hatchett sustained serious injuries to vertebrae and required a neck brace for 16 weeks. She described needing ongoing help and support in the aftermath of the accident.

9-year-old Callum Reeves was the most seriously injured of the children and spent five days in intensive care suffering “a significant bleed to the brain”.

The Reeves children’s parents had been away on holiday at the time of the accident and were forced to rush back.

In a victim impact statement, mum Nicola Reeves said: “When we got to intensive care [Callum} was wearing a neck brace. He had to remain as still as possible, and had weights.

“He was surrounded by machines and tubes... He was screaming in pain and then apologising.”

Witnesses at the scene said Bramwell tried to persuade them to move her to the passenger side of the Fiesta, saying she should not have been driving – which she denied in her second interview to police.

Bramwell also tested positive for cocaine, methadone, diazepam and other opiates after the crash.

Bramwell’s passenger Robert McCanlis was also injured in the collision with a punctured lung. He was the only victim able to get himself out of the car and later provided a victim impact statement to police.

She will serve half of her sentence before being eligible for release on licence.

In addition to the 32-month sentence, Reeves was banned from driving for five years.