Drink-driver boozed at West Wittering before crashing into cyclist, 17, at Bognor Regis leaving him ‘severely disabled’

A driver who crashed into a 17-year-old cyclist leaving him ‘severely disabled’ and unable to walk without help has been jailed for more than two years.

Exterior of Portsmouth Crown Court

 (220421-7042) PPP-210528-181010006
Exterior of Portsmouth Crown Court (220421-7042) PPP-210528-181010006

Portsmouth Crown Court heard how Benjamin Grimmett was driving his Kia Rio after drinking five Budweiser beers with friends at West Wittering beach last summer.

The 22-year-old carpenter hit a central island before swerving left into the teenager on the 50mph-limit road Charles Purley Way, Bognor Regis, just before midnight on June 17 last year.

He had been glancing at a map on his phone for a ‘split second’ while travelling northbound to his girlfriend’s home when he took his eyes off the road and crashed into the boy.

The cyclist, now 18, was thrown from his bike into the air and struck a lamppost leaving him fighting for his life – as Grimmett drove away with magic mushrooms and cannabis in his pocket.

The victim had a broken jaw in three places, a bleed on the brain, collapsed lung, breaks to both wrists, a broken neck, back and pelvis in several places. He also suffered fractures to his legs and a hand.

After the crash the ‘severely disabled’ teenager underwent 18 hours of surgery, and was put in an induced coma for five days.

Surgeons fitted metal plates in his left leg, and even now he cannot walk far while using crutches.

For three months he was on bed rest unable to move as the injuries to his spine healed, the court heard.

Grimmett, of Church Road, Rustington in Littlehampton, had 54 microgrammes of alcohol in 100 millilitres of breath. The limit is 35.

He confessed to two rail workers at the roadside that he had hit a cyclist – and was spotted by paramedics on their way to treat the victim.

Grimmett was jailed by judge Tim Mousley QC for 28 months. The judge told him: “You could have killed him.”

Judge Mousley added: “The impact was catastrophic.”

In a statement, the victim, whose dreams of being a carpenter have been shattered, said: “I don’t think I’m the same person and I don’t think I ever will be again.

“I have dreams I can walk normally again and then wake up and realise that will never happen, it gets me very low.”

The court heard he has been suicidal at the state of his injuries, but has been supported by NHS staff, friends and family.

Grimmett’s representative said he made a ‘terrible decision’ and he is a ‘kind, peaceful, decent young man’.

His remorse is ‘profound and genuine,’ the judge said.

Grimmett was banned from driving for 50 months.

He has no previous convictions and admitted causing serious injury by dangerous driving, possession of class A and B drugs, and drink-driving.