Devastating aftermath of drink drive crash that left dad unable to hold his son

These are devastating injuries of father involved in a drink drive crash that left him unable to hold or play with his son.

Greg Sumner was a passenger in a car and had been drinking along with the driver when they became engaged in a chase with another vehicle.

He suffered 27 broken bones, and was in a coma for almost five months following the devastating Somerset collision that also claimed two lives.

His eyes turned purple and swollen, and he spent days fighting for his life in hospital, during which time his heart stopped four times.

But now, six years on, Greg has put together a video of his story, featuring heartbreaking photos of himself from before and after the crash.

And he has warned of the fatal consequences of drink-driving, after four children were left without fathers when two were killed instantly by a driver who was two-and-a-half times the drink-driving limit.

Greg’s video has been shared by Avon and Somerset Police as part of their Winter Operation Tonic campaign – their annual Christmas crackdown on drink- and drug-driving.

The video begins with a slideshow of photos of Greg before his accident, showing him smiling and enjoying time with his school mates, his family members, and on various nights out.

Greg, who was just 22 at the time of the crash, wrote: “[I was] pretty sure I was invincible. Nothing could stop me… proves how much I know.”

The video then shows a jarring picture of Greg in hospital with tubes in his mouth, with the caption: “This is where it got me. Unrecognisable to my own brother.”

Greg then goes on to explain that October 7, 2012 was the day his life changed forever.

After a long day at work, he said he had an early night planned – but was persuaded by a text from a friend to go out on the town that night.

He wrote: “I was drinking… but so was the driver. He was two and a half times the drink-driving limit.

“On the way home, we fell out with a group of lads. A chase broke out and at 2am, we pursued and intimidated.

“Overtook the car on the brow of a hill at more than 70mph in a 40mph zone. Can you guess what happened next?”

Vincent Atkinson, 31, was driving a red BMW along the A371 near Axbridge, Somerset, while two and a half times over the drink-driving limit.

An inquest heard that Greg was a passenger in the BMW, which was driving at 70mph as it approached the brow of a hill, on the wrong side of the road.

Atkinson collided with a car being driven by Richard Park, 35, from Cheddar, Somerset.

Greg, from Bristol, said: “Two people died instantly. My car had slammed into a vehicle which was being driven by a family man, and both drivers were killed immediately.

“The crash devastated the families involved, leaving four children without their fathers.

“The crash was so severe that I was unrecognisable to my family and friends. I broke 27 bones. My heart stopped four times.

“My seatbelt saved my life. But I’m now paralysed from the neck down.”

A coroner found Atkinson guilty of ‘gross criminal negligence’ and ‘unlawful killing’.

And now, dad-of-two Greg has set up Facebook page, Knowing What Your Driver Has Drunk, to try and raise awareness of the potentially fatal consquences of drink-driving.

He wrote on the Facebook page: “I am so, so lucky to be alive, but as I am so immobile I cannot even complete tasks that are incredibly simple.

“I also have a young son, I cannot pick him up, I cannot play games with him, I cannot bear the thought of not being able to help him when he falls off his bike or trips over.

“It absolutely truly kills me that I can’t be a hands-on dad.

“I want nothing more than to be able to do the usual dad stuff and impress him by diving in the pool or jumping the highest on the trampoline… but no, my kids’ dad just sits and watches.”

Greg continued: “As for myself – I can’t brush my own teeth, I can’t dress myself, I need help eating, I can’t even scratch my face when I get an itch.

“I was the passenger. All I needed to do was use my head before I got in the car, knowing the driver had had a drink or two.”

Now, police have shared Greg’s harrowing video as part of their month-long Operation Tonic campaign, aimed at targeting drink- and drug-drivers.

The campaign includes high visibility and covert patrols.

Those caught driving over the limit will face serious consequences, including a hefty £2,500 fine, a driving ban, or even a prison sentence – up to 14 years for causing death while under the influence.

Police and Crime Commissioner Sue Mountstevens says: “Over the festive period, many of us will be having fun, hosting gatherings and socialising with family and friends.

“Driving under the influence of drink or drugs is not only a crime, it is socially and morally unacceptable and can have devastating consequences.

“Don’t gamble with your ability to drive, it’s not worth the risk. The police are committed to keeping the roads of Avon and Somerset safe for all that use them.

“I believe the majority of law-abiding people support the police in doing all we can to bring offenders to justice, keeping the roads safe not only this Christmas but all year round.”

So what do you think?

Tell us in the comments.

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