Young couple in comas after head-on collision with drunk driver
Families release pictures of young couple fighting for life in comas after head-on collision with drunk driver as he is jailed for two years
- Olivia Boxall, 19, and boyfriend Harry Maywood, 20, got hit by Ash Ashburne, 41
- Ashburne was drinking for hours before collision while on wrong side of road
- Pair were both left in critical condition and placed into an induced coma
- Mr Maywood spent 80 days in hospital with severe trauma to the brain
- Miss Boxall was in hospital for a month and suffered fractured spine
A young couple were left fighting for their lives in comas after a collision with a drink driver who has now been jailed for two years.
Olivia Boxall, 19, was travelling home with her then boyfriend Harry Maywood, 20, when their car was struck by a veering vehicle, driven by Alex Ashburne, 41.
Ashburne had been drinking at a pub in Looe, Cornwall, for hours before he collided with the young couple while driving on the wrong side of the road just after midnight on September 5 last year.
The pair were both left in a critical condition and placed into an induced coma on arrival in hospital.
Olivia Boxall (pictured), 19, was travelling home with her then boyfriend Harry Maywood, 20, when their car was struck by a veering vehicle, driven by Alex Ashburne, 41
Mr Maywood (pictured) spent 80 days in hospital and suffered severe trauma to the brain, which has left him with permanent neurological damage
Mr Maywood spent 80 days in hospital and suffered severe trauma to the brain, which has left him with permanent neurological damage.
He had two collapsed lungs, a laceration to his liver, abdominal injuries, and his spleen had to be removed. He had to learn to eat, talk and walk again.
Mr Maywood had two collapsed lungs, a laceration to his liver, abdominal injuries, and his spleen had to be removed. He had to learn to eat, talk and walk again
Miss Boxall was in hospital for a month and suffered a fractured spine, a broken arm and severe internal bleeding which required surgery.
She lost three stone in weight, after not being able to eat for a fortnight.
The pair both face a lifetime of recovery and their families have now spoken out after the sentencing of the driver responsible.
They have also now released pictures of the youngsters fighting for life at Derriford Hospital in Plymouth, Devon, that they want potential drink drivers to visualise before getting behind the wheel.
Ashburne, of Burnley, Lancashire, was more than two times over the drink-drive limit several hours after the collision.
He sustained a broken hip, broken leg and abdominal injuries in the crash and has now been jailed for two years.
But Miss Boxall’s mother Sophie and Mr Maywood’s father Bryan want to use their experiences to warn others of the horrific consequences of drink-driving.
And Sophie, 44, of Pelynt, Cornwall, has also called on drink-drive sentences to be ‘much tougher’ to reflect the impact on the victims’ lives.
She said: ‘We are glad the court proceedings are over, but the sentence did not feel fitting for the life-changing injuries that the two young people had sustained.
‘Harry and Olivia will have a lifetime of recovery, while he will be in prison for 18 months.
‘Until the law surrounding drink driving changes, people will continue to get injured and worse.
‘People need to take responsibility for their actions.’
At Truro Crown Court Ashburne was sentenced to two years in prison for each count of causing injury by dangerous driving and to two months’ imprisonment for drink driving.
All the sentences will run concurrently. He has also been disqualified from driving for three years, after which he must sit an extended re-test before being allowed to drive again.
Miss Boxall (pictured recently with her mother, Sophie) was in hospital for a month and suffered a fractured spine, a broken arm and severe internal bleeding which required surgery
Olivia and Harry were both travelling back to Looe just after midnight on September 5, 2019, when the car driven by Ashburne collided with theirs head-on near Pelynt.
Harry’s father Bryan, 54, of Looe, added: ‘Harry’s injuries are with him for the rest of his life. He is at university but struggling and we have to put all our energies into helping him.
‘But more should be done to stop drink driving. I think there could be more support for publicans to be more proactive in preventing people doing it and it is important people are just aware of the consequences.
‘But when people are drink-driving or playing with their phone in the car they are not thinking about what sentence they might get.
‘I picture Harry fighting for his life, but that is not in their head. They just think of some old bloke moaning at them. But we have got to highlight how dangerous it is and I would welcome anything that improves road safety like this.’
The parents of both victims (pictured is Mr Maywood with his parents) also thanked Cornwall Air Ambulance for saving their children’s lives and have help raise several thousands pounds for the charity since the incident
‘The issue with drink driving is a massive one. What Alex Ashburne did was hugely personal, but a very small part of a much bigger problem.
‘He ended up doing something that had tragic consequences. If he had done it one second later he would have hit a bush instead of my son’s car.
‘But I haven’t got room in my life for anger. It has happened and all we can do is the best we can to support Harry.
‘I don’t think sentencing people more is necessarily going to solve the problem.
‘We are learning lots about brain injuries and he has had some really positive successes from where he was. We did not think he would last a minute at one point.
‘The sentencing brought about some closure but, for me, the length of the sentence does not increase or decrease this.
‘All we now worry about is how we support Harry in life.’
The parents of both victims also thanked Cornwall Air Ambulance for saving their children’s lives and have help raise several thousands pounds for the charity since the incident.
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