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‘Lunatic driver’ who crushed basketball player’s dream jailed

By North Devon Journal  |  Posted: May 05, 2014

Injured Macauley Eccles and Rebecca Nott outside Exeter Crown Court, and left, the crushed car they were travelling in

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A 17-year-old up-and-coming basketball player whose dreams were shattered by a terrible car crash in Cullompton has said the driver “deserved to go to prison”.

Macauley Eccles was speaking after driver Emma Walker, of Llys Gwyn, Bridgend, South Wales, was jailed for 16 months after admitting causing the injuries by dangerous driving.

Mr Eccles, who dreamed of becoming a professional basketball and had trials for Wales, is unlikely to be able to play at a high level again after the crash left him with devastating leg injuries.

During the case the Judge was told how teaching assistant Walker was dancing in her seat to music from her smart phone and showed off by deliberately swerving around the road.

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She took a corner at 60 mph in a 30 mph limit and crashed into another car head on and a concrete pillar.

Her Peugeot car crushed to nearly half its length and passers-by said she had been driving like a lunatic.

Mr Eccles joined the two other victims of the crash at Exeter Crown Court to see Walker sentenced on Friday.

Rebecca Nott, 20, almost died and spent five and a half months in hospital after the accident last summer.

Back seat passenger Peter Bebb, aged 26, still has restricted movement in his head after breaking his neck in the accident which happened as four friends from South Wales were on their way to a camping trip at Honiton, East Devon.

After the case the victims were ushered out of court by police crash investigator MPC Nigel Cox and Macauley spoke of his relief that the case is over.

He said: “I think she deserved to go to prison. I don’t know if my basketball career is over. I have missed a lot of vital time because of my injuries.”

His mother said: “She is a young girl. I would have been happy if she had been given a suspended jail sentence or a curfew and say a five year driving ban. There are repercussions for all the injured passengers. Macauley has a lot of catching up to do.

“Young people do have loud music in their cars but she should not been texting.”

Police crash investigator MPC Nigel Cox said the four occupants of the car were ‘all lucky to survive’

“The damage was catastrophic. She went around the bend at at least 55mph and lost control. I know Becky and Macauley are very grateful to the air ambulance and the treatment they have received at various hospitals.”

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