Man jailed for causing crash that injured family of five and left another man disabled for the rest of his life

Stuart Elder was sentenced for causing the crash that injured several people Credit: South Wales Police

A 31-year-old man has been jailed for causing a crash that injured a family of five and left another man disabled for the rest of his life.

Stuart Elder hit an oncoming car containing a family of five at a mini roundabout, injuring all of them, injuring himself, and causing catastrophic, life-long brain and physical injuries to one of his passengers.

He had been under the influence of alcohol, cocaine and cannabis when the crash happened.

Swansea Crown Court heard the crash took place near Morriston Hospital on the evening of July 22 last year.Helen Randall, prosecuting, said Elder was at the wheel of a Skoda Fabia car which was seen driving at speed on Pant Lasau Road.

At a mini roundabout Elder was on the wrong side of the road when he ploughed into an oncoming BMW containing a family-of-five.

On hearing the crash people living nearby rushed to the scene to try to help.The court heard everyone in the BMW - including an eight-year-old boy - suffered injuries ranging from bruising and soft tissue injuries to torn ligaments.

The defendant was also injured but by far the worst injuries were suffered by a rear seat passenger in Elder's car.Ms Randall said when police and paramedics arrived they found the passenger pale and unresponsive, with rapid breathing and a weak pulse.

He was taken to hospital and was found to have suffered "moderate to severe" brain injury, and multiple fractures to his facial bones, shoulder, ribs, and arms.

Elder was sentenced at Swansea Crown Court

The prosecutor said the passenger has been left with "significant disabilities" impacting his cognitive and physical functioning, and now requires help with his personal care as well as the use of a wheelchair when he leaves the house.

She said his speech has been permanently and seriously effected, and he has not regained the full use of one of his arms due to nerve damage.A roadside breath test of Elder showed the 31-year-old was more than twice the drink-drive limit, and he also tested positive for cocaine and and cannabis.The driver was initially taken to hospital before being taken to Swansea Central police station where he gave a "no comment" interview to officers.

An evidential breath test carried out some four hours after the crash showed he had 57 microgrammes of alcohol in 10 millilitres of breath, the legal limit being 35.

Drugs tests showed he was more than three-times over the legal limit for a metabolite ofcocaine, and one-and-a-half times over the cannabis limit.

Elder was sentenced to 32 months in prison for a number of driving offences

Elder, of Rhodfa'r Eos, Cwmrhydyceirw, Morriston, Swansea, had previously pleaded guilty to causing serious injury by dangerous driving, driving with excess alcohol, and two counts of driving with a specified drug about the legal limit when he appeared in the dock for sentencing.

The court heard he has two previous convictions for two offences - one for inflicting grievous bodily harm with intent from 2010, and one for affray from 2016.In a statement from the victim's mother which was read to the court she said her son's life had been "changed forever" by what Elder did, and she had been left "broken inside and out" by the consequences of the crash.

In a statement from the injured man's aunt, she said he had always been "full of fun" and a hard-working plasterer but will now be disabled for the rest of his life.David Singh, representing Elder, said it was accepted the standard of the defendant's driving on the night in question had been "appalling" and had resulted in "terrible consequences".

He said it was recognised that no apology Elder could offer could make up for the devastation the victim and his family have suffered.Recorder Ifan Wyn Lloyd Jones told Elder his passenger had been left with significant, life-changing injuries "all because of you".He said the maximum sentence allowable by law was one of five years custody but he acknowledged that no sentence he could pass could turn back the clock for the victim and his family.Giving Elder the required one-third discount for his guilty pleas the recorder sentenced him to 32 months in prison.

Elder will serve up to half that period in custody before being released on licence under theUK government's early release scheme to serve the remainder in the community.