A former semi-professional footballer whose speeding car flipped over several times after he ran a red light and crashed has been jailed for 16 months.
Judge Christopher Cornwall was shown horrifying images of the crash in which Samuel Louis Christensen, 23, of Sandgate, South Shore, was seriously injured alongside his friend Harrison Smith, who had begged him in terror to slow down.
Christensen, who had played for Fleetwood Town and Clitheroe, had thought his passenger’s desperate pleas were ‘funny’ as he turned onto Squires Gate Lane at speeds of around 70mph on August 8 last year, Preston Crown Court heard.
Prosecuting, Paul Brookwell said he went through two red lights in a Volkswagen Golf, but at the second red light on Progress Way he swerved to avoid a car.
His car collided with the traffic island and left the road, flipping in the air several times before landing on its roof.
The judge acknowledged Christensen had no previous convictions and was a “well brought-up young man”, but added: “You and Mr Smith are very fortunate to have survived. He came round from unconsciousness but has suffered terrible injuries, facial scarring, a broken jaw and a broken hand, and after eight months is still plated and wired.
You and Mr Smith are very fortunate to have survived
“What is most distressing is Mr Smith saying he was begging you to slow down. It is made all the worse by your arrogant refusal to listen.
“The consequences are his terrible injuries, your terrible injuries and an uncertain outcome.”
He added the jail term was “a salutary reminder of how serious bad driving is viewed by the court”.
Christensen was watched by relatives from the public gallery who began to cry as sentence was passed.
Defending, Jacob Dyer, said: “He doesn’t dispute the case, the driving is clearly dangerous. It’s aggravated by the fact he appeared to be showing off and ignored the request of his passenger to slow down.
“It isn’t a case involving drink or drugs and was a trip to buy a bottle of water at the time water was contaminated.
“The impact upon Mr Smith is of course significant. Thankfully he has been able to make a phased return to work.
“The defendant himself was seriously injured but he is entirely responsible.
“He was playing semi professional football for a time but obtained a job as a delivery driver.”
The court heard he had lost that job but was training as a painter and decorator.
Police said just seconds before the crash, two people had crossed the road.
PS Rob Gomery from the Road Policing Unit said: “The standard of Samuel Christensen’s driving fell far below that expected of any driver and he is very lucky to be alive. He has now been sentenced and it sends out a clear message to any other drivers who take such risks on the roads.”