A YOUNG man left partially paralysed after a dangerous driver ploughed his van into stationary traffic on a busy road told a court how he had to learn to walk and talk again.

Barry Goody, 41, told witnesses it was likely he fell asleep at the wheel of his van when it smashed into the rear of a Ford Fiesta driven by a 22-year-old man.

Chelmsford Crown Court heard he had been travelling at about 60mph at the time of the crash, which unfolded on the A12 at Langham on February 10 last year.

As one witness moved into a slip lane to exit the A12, he reported seeing Goody’s van heading “at speed” towards the stationary traffic.

He said: “I was amazed at the speed of this vehicle, the fact the driver did not appear to be slowing or reacting to the tailback of traffic ahead.”

The witness saw the rear of the van rise into the air as it smashed into the car.

The court heard Goody was recorded on a police officer’s body-worn camera saying: “I was slowing down, I do have a horrible feeling I fell asleep, I’ve been doing a lot of hours recently.”

Echo: Jailed - Barry Goody could only suggest that he fell asleep at the wheelJailed - Barry Goody could only suggest that he fell asleep at the wheel

James Onalaja, prosecuting, said: “This defendant, driving that Transit van, failed to acknowledge the slowing vehicles ahead of him, struck the rear of the Fiesta [the victim] was in and forced that van up into the air.

“[The victim’s] Fiesta was pushed to the near side of the carriageway and indeed left the road, striking a wooden fencing before coming to a rest.”

The court heard Goody was due in court the day after the crash for driving at 57mph in a 30mph zone.

The victim’s Fiesta was partially crushed by the crash and the young driver was flown by air ambulance to Addenbrooke’s Hospital, where he was placed in an induced coma. He required immediate surgery to relieve pressure on his brain.

He suffered a severe fracture to his skull, a bleed on his brain and spinal fractures. His injuries were life-threatening and he still struggles to speak.

In a victim statement, he said: “At the age of 22, I had to learn to swallow, talk, move arms, walk, go to the toilet, feed myself, all over again.

“My injuries were so serious they could not give me any indication of when I would be allowed home.”

He added: “Depression did sink in, I was in the process of buying my first home and was due to complete and move in by the end of February.

“I had a job I loved, I had my own car so I could go and see my friends and family when I wanted, now I could not even take myself to the toilet or have a shower on my own.

“I started to think ‘Why me? What have I done that is so wrong?’. I even blamed myself for the accident although my mum assured me there was nothing I could have done to prevent it.”

Speaking of Goody’s role in causing the crash, he said: “He has no injuries, but my life will never be the same again.”

Goody, of Falkenham, Suffolk, admitted causing serious injury by dangerous driving.

Alison Hunter, mitigating, said: “There are no words that are adequate to convey either the horror of Mr Goody at the accident he caused, nor his sorrow or remorse for the injuries and suffering that were caused in that accident.”

She said Goody has never denied he was responsible for causing the crash, adding her client is “a committed Christian, a good person with no previous convictions”.

She said falling asleep is “the only explanation he has ever been able to give” for the crash.

In a reference, a friend told the court Goody is a “straight up-and-down man who wears his heart on his sleeve”.

He said: “I’ve always found him to be entirely without malice.

“His daughters really take up all his time outside of work, so his evenings, his weekends are very precious to him.

“I can only say I’ve witnessed absolutely first hand on many occasions the depth of Barry’s feelings for the injured party.

“I’ve seen him, multiple times, with tears streaming down his cheeks. I’ve seen him virtually collapse a couple of times.”

Jailing him for 18 months, Judge Christopher Morgan said: “In my judgement, a person who falls asleep even for a short period of time on the A12, and causes an accident resulting in such significant injuries, must go into custody.”

Goody was banned from driving for 39 months.