A DRINK driver from Halesowen who, together with a passenger, suffered devastating life changing injuries when he ploughed a "dangerous" stolen car into a traffic sign has walked free from court.

Anthony Evitts, of Wesley Avenue, sustained a serious brain injury, multiple fractures and internal damage and he had to be put into an induced coma by doctors during his long stay in hospital.

The 29-year-old now needs constant care and it would be many years before he would be able to return to society because of his “stupid” decision to get behind the wheel, Wolverhampton Crown Court heard.

Brittany Platt, his brother’s girlfriend, broke her back in four places, her pelvis was badly shattered, she also had multiple fractures and she had been left permanently scarred by facial lacerations.

“You could easily have killed yourself and your passengers and quite frankly you very nearly did,” Recorder Abigail Nixon told Evitts, adding that if he had emerged unscathed from the wreckage of the vehicle he would have gone straight to prison.

She said Miss Platt had been left in critical care and “close to the edge” after he lost control of the car, while she has continued to have limited movement and has been badly affected by her facial scarring.

The recorder said Miss Platt was reminded every day about the accident when she looked in the mirror and she had lost all confidence, while Evitts’ brain damage had left him facing major problems.

“You have got to live with what you have done to yourself, Brittany and your family because of that stupid decision,” she told Evitts, whose brother had also been injured – but no details were given to the court.

She said it was probably to Evitts’ benefit that he had no recollection about the accident, which took place in Birmingham Road, Stourbridge, because if he did it was likely he would have nightmares.

Evitts was given a 12 month jail term, suspended for two years by the recorder, who ruled she was able to allow him to keep his freedom because he had already been punished physically for what he had done.

He pleaded guilty to aggravated vehicle taking, driving with excess alcohol and without insurance or a licence and he was further ordered to obey a three month curfew between the hours of 8pm and 8am.

Oliver Woolhouse, defending Evitts, said the vehicle had its suspension cut to make it ride lower and no-one was aware it was in a dangerous condition.

He told the court that could have been the reason Evitts lost control, adding: “It was a tragic set of dreadful circumstances. Now he has to live with the shame, remorse and consequences of what he did.”

Edward Soulsby, prosecuting, said Evitts took the vehicle without consent, lost control and slammed into the road sign.

He said that in a victim impact statement Miss Platt described how she now suffered from panic attacks, she was extremely nervous about going out and she tried to avoid looking at mirrors.

Mr Soulsby said she also had short term memory loss adding that she just wanted to be normal again but she knew that would never happen.