Father in horror crash speaks of his relief as other driver jailed

Father, 47, who sent heartbreaking ‘last goodbye’ to his wife and son after horror crash that left him paralysed with his legs amputated reveals his relief as the other driver is jailed for three years

  • Nick Copson left paralysed after having spinal cord injury and legs amputated
  • The 47-year-old was in head-on collision on the A68 in in County Durham in 2018
  • His Vauxhall Astra was hit by a Kia Venga being driven by 46-year-old Craig Allen
  • Allen pleaded guilty to 2 counts of causing serious injury by dangerous driving
  • He has been jailed for three years and two months with a 67-month driving ban 

A father who recorded a last goodbye message to his family as he lay in the wreckage of a horror car crash has spoken of his relief after the other driver was jailed for three years.

Nick Copson, 47, was left paralysed after he suffered a serious spinal cord injury and had his legs amputated following the collision on the A68 in September 2018.

He had been driving in County Durham when he was hit head-on by 46-year-old Craig Allen.

Mr Copson thought he was going to die in the wreckage of his vehicle so left a voice message on his mobile phone to wife Nikki, 52, and son Connor, 21, telling them he was sorry and that he loved them.

The father-of-one was eventually cut free and taken to the James Cook University Hospital for treatment.

Allen pleaded guilty to two counts of causing serious injury by dangerous driving. 

He has now been jailed for three years and two months and received a 67-month driving ban and must take an extended re-test.

Nick Copson was left paralysed after he suffered a serious spinal cord injury and had his legs amputated following the head-on collision on the A68 in September 2018 

Mr Copson had been driving a Vauxhall Astra which was hit by a Kia Venga being driven by Allen between Witton-le-Wear and Toft Hill in County Durham.

He suffered a catalogue of injuries including a broken back, crushed torso and punctured lungs.

He was placed in an induced coma for five weeks and underwent surgery, including a double leg amputation, amid lengthy treatment at the same hospital.

He also overcame sepsis, multi-organ failure, a fungal blood infection, kidney dialysis, blood clots and grade four bedsores.

Mr Copson finally left hospital in October 2019 and moved into a rehabilitation care home to continue his recovery before eventually coming home.

He has also since beaten Covid-19.

Allen, of Stanhope, County Durham, pleaded guilty to two counts of causing serious injury by dangerous driving.

A teenager in Allen’s vehicle was also seriously injured.

Allen has now been jailed for three years and two months and received a 67-month driving ban and must take an extended re-test.

Mr Copson thought he was going to die in the wreckage of his vehicle so left a voice message on his mobile phone to wife Nikki, 52, (pictured together) and son Connor, 21, telling them he was sorry and that he loved them 


Mr Copson suffered a catalogue of injuries after being hit by a Kia Venga including a broken back, crushed torso and punctured lungs. He was placed in an induced coma for five weeks and underwent surgery, including a double leg amputation, amid lengthy treatment at the same hospital

Speaking after the sentence, Mr Copson said: ‘The spinal injury in a way was a blessing, as it meant I couldn’t feel any pain below my chest. However, I started to struggle with breathing and that’s when I thought I was dying.

‘Someone from another car came and sat with me and I asked her to pass on the message to my family, but she told me to tell them myself.’

‘It has been an incredibly difficult time. Being away from my family for so long was particularly hard to accept.

‘During my time in hospital and at the rehab unit my entire focus was getting back home to Nikki and Connor. It’s difficult to put into words what it meant to get back home with my family.

‘My life has been completely changed but I feel I have a new perspective on things and just want to enjoy everything I possibly can.

‘Life is so incredibly fragile and I’m lucky to be alive. I try not to get too far ahead of myself. I just try and focus on my recovery.

‘No sentence can ever make up for what has happened. I just hope that drivers realise what their actions can lead to and take care on the roads.’

He also overcame sepsis, multi-organ failure, a fungal blood infection, kidney dialysis, blood clots and grade four bedsores

Nikki, who heard about the crash on the radio, said: ‘We are so proud of the determination and bravery he has shown to pull through from what happened’

Nikki, who heard about the crash on the radio, added: ‘We are just so thankful to those who came to Nick’s help at the scene, the emergency services and all the hospital staff for everything they have done for Nick.

‘We are so proud of the determination and bravery he has shown to pull through from what happened. Sometimes we still can’t quite believe Nick is still with us.

‘While life has changed our family is still together and we just want to try and make the most of life.’

Fran Mayes, specialist serious injury lawyer at Irwin Mitchell representing Mr Copson and his family, said after the hearing: ‘Nick and his family have faced an unspeakably difficult period over the last two and a half years since the crash as they have attempted to come to terms with how his injuries will change all their lives forever.

‘Despite everything that he has been through, Nick continues to be an absolute inspiration to everyone who meets him.

‘He doesn’t let what happened get him down and is determined to stay positive and get the best out of his new life.’

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