A MAN has been charged with a string of driving offences after a major crash left five people in hospital.

The incident happened on Saturday when a blue BMW 120D crashed into five male pedestrians shortly after 4.10pm in Furtherwick Road, Canvey.

A large emergency response flooded the scene with three air ambulances and multiple police units, with police officers closing the road while an investigation got underway.

Five men aged in their early 20s and from Canvey were treated at the scene for serious injuries before being taken to hospitals across Essex and London. Three remain in hospital while they receive treatment and two have been released.

Police arrested two men in relation to the incident and have now charged one of the suspects.

Max Maxwell, 18, of Small Gains Avenue, Canvey, has been charged with four counts of causing serious injury by dangerous driving, one count of aggravated vehicle taking and one count of driving without insurance. A 17-year-old boy from Canvey was arrested on suspicion of dangerous driving, failing to stop after an accident, driving while unfit through drink or drugs, aggravated vehicle taking and causing serious injury by dangerous driving.

He has been released on bail until May 5, pending further enquiries.

One of the victims has since reached out to the community to thank them for the overwhelming response of concern and well-wishes.

The man, who has asked to remain anonymous but has spoken to the Echo, said: “Just wanted to say a big thank you for the love and support from the good people of the island for us lads involved in the terrible incident on Saturday. We are all doing well and are on the road to recovery - together we will get through it.”

His father added: “My family and myself would just like to say a big thank you to you all for your support and kind words. I will say it was the worst day in the lives of my family. Once again a big thank you to you all.”

The victims have set up a fundraiser to raise money for the air ambulance to say thank you to the medics.

The victim added: “We have set up a just giving page for the Essex Air Ambulance for the remarkable work carried out. Any donations would be appreciated.”

The page raised more than £3,000 in less than 24 hours. You can donate by visiting justgiving.com/fundraising/airambulanceappeal

Max Maxwell appeared at Southend magistrates court yesterday afternoon and has been remanded in custody. He will appear Basildon Crown Court on May 14 for a pre-trial hearing.