A judge has jailed a dangerous driver who left a woman with life-changing injuries after a tractor and farm machinery fell off his lorry on to a passing car.
Ashley Sceal, 32, of Ranworth House, Osborne Road, Crowborough, pleaded guilty to causing 61-year-old teaching assistant Lorna Rumsey serious injuries by dangerous driving.
At Lewes Crown Court, Judge Christine Laing, the honorary recorder of Brighton and Hove, jailed Sceal for two years and banned him from driving for three years.
Sceal failed to secure farm equipment safely to a Scania lorry before taking it along the B2102 Lewes Road, in Blackboys, near Uckfield, in September last year.
After an investigation, known as Operation Blackstone, Sceal was charged with causing serious injury by dangerous driving and brought to court.
Sussex Police said: “A dangerous driver who failed to safely secure agricultural equipment on to his lorry caused serious injuries in a collision with another motorist.
“Ashley Sceal was responsible for transporting the farm equipment at Lewes Road, Blackboys, near Uckfield.
“A tractor and machinery were loaded on to a flatbed trailer but detached from the vehicle into the path of an oncoming driver.
“In the serious collision which followed, a 61-year-old woman, from Heathfield, sustained life-changing injuries.
“She said that it caused her ‘months of hell’ and has had a devastating impact on her physical and mental health.
“A collision report found that Sceal’s lorry was not safe to be on the road.
“At Lewes Crown Court on Monday 4 December, the 31-year-old admitted causing serious injuries by dangerous driving.
“He was jailed for two years and was disqualified from driving for three years.
“The court was told how Sceal, formerly a haulier of Osborne Road, Crowborough, was driving on Monday 12 September 2022.
“At 8pm, the machinery he was transporting became detached.
“It fell into the path of an oncoming motorist, giving her no time to react.
“Sceal was found to be over the drug-driving limit for benzoylecgonine (a cocaine body-breakdown product), with 168 micrograms found per litre of blood. The legal limit is 50 micrograms per litre of blood.”
After the case, Detective Constable Dave Symonds, from the Serious Collision Investigation Unit, said: “All drivers of heavy goods vehicles must ensure that loads are securely attached.
“This collision was easily avoidable but Sceal failed to meet that basic requirement. He was fortunate not to have killed the victim or anyone other road users in this case.
“It highlights the need for all drivers to be considerate of the risks and to follow safety steps to help prevent causing such devastating consequences.”