Keeley Harrison, 20, hopped into her friend’s car and drove off as a ‘joke’ while her pal clung onto the bonnet before being flung off as she braked abruptly
A woman who did not know she was pregnant suffered a miscarriage after her friend’s “practical joke gone wrong.”
Keeley Harrison drove former friend Megan Meredith’s car while she was on the bonnet, causing her to fall off and break her ankle and knee.
Ms Meredith was thrown from her own blue Ford Ka in Bargoed, Wales, on March 22 last year in the incident that put an end to the pair’s friendship.
It began when Ms Meredith went to put rubbish in a bin and Harrison jumped into the driver’s seat of her car in what was meant to be a practical joke on her pal, reports Wales Online.
Harrison, 20, locked the doors, and attempted to drive away in her friend’s car while two other friends egged her on from the back seat.
But when the victim jumped onto the bonnet to prevent Harrison from leaving in her car, she carried on driving along a high street.
She reached speeds of between 16mph and 19mph for a number of yards before braking abruptly, causing Ms Meredith to be flung onto the ground.
As a result of the incident Ms Meredith suffered a miscarriage having discovered she was pregnant during her treatment.
She also sustained a broken right ankle and broken right tibia which required surgery and continues to cause significant issues.
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A sentencing hearing at Cardiff Crown Court today heard Ms Meredith picked up Harrison and two other friends on the day of the incident at roughly 3pm and drove to Bargoed.
She parked in Upper High Street and the group purchased some cakes but Ms Meredith took rubbish from the car to put in a bin nearby, leaving her keys in the ignition.
When she looked back she saw Harrison in the driver’s seat and when she tried to open the door she found they were locked.
Prosecutor Mr Fryer said: “The car started to roll backwards and Ms Meredith [leaned] on the bonnet, shouting at her not to drive the car, and there was laughing and joking in the vehicle. She also believed they were filming her on a phone.
“She felt the car move forward and was gripping onto the car to try and stop herself from falling.
“The defendant pulled out of the parking space while she was still on the bonnet and she accelerated up Upper High Street with Ms Meredith’s legs dangling down.
“She felt the car was being driven fast and she tried to grab hold of the windscreen wipers but she fell off the front of the car onto her right-hand side.
“She felt confused initially and didn’t know if she had passed out but when she tried to get up she described feeing horrific pain in her right leg.”
CCTV footage of the incident showed Harrison leaving the vehicle and crouching down by her friend but Ms Meredith said the defendant and her friends didn’t believe she had broken her ankle and told her to get up.
An elderly man came over and began arguing with the friends, calling them idiots for they way they had acted.
Ms Meredith was taken to Prince Charles Hospital in Merthyr Tydfil for extensive treatment – where it was discovered she was pregnant.
But as a result of the treatment she received, including more than five hours in surgery, she suffered a miscarriage.
In total she spent two weeks in hospital and had to take six months off work. She was also advised that her leg may never completely recover.
In a victim personal statement read out to the court Ms Meredith said the incident came as a “complete shock” and left her “devastated” having considered Harrison to be a friend.
She said: “This incident has ruined my life and I am worried about the future, my leg function, and employment.
“I’m not the person I was before and I don’t think I’ll ever be the same person again. I now have to live with these injuries for the rest of my life.”
Support worker Harrison, of Brithdir, Caerphilly, was interviewed and confirmed she was driving the vehicle but claimed both parties were responsible.
She said her intention was to play a “practical joke” on Ms Meredith and to drive around the corner to make her think they were driving off and leaving her in the streets – but Ms Meredith jumped on the bonnet.
The defendant later pleaded guilty to causing serious injury by dangerous driving.
Defence barrister Jenny Yeo said her client was left “devastated” about the impact her actions had had on Ms Meredith, but added the two were no longer friends.
She said: “This is a tragic case for all concerned. It was a prank between two friends that went horribly wrong and my client takes full responsibility for her stupidity and her actions.”
Sentencing Judge Jeremy Jenkins said only a custodial sentence could be justified but he was prepared to suspend the sentence.
He added: “Causing injury to your friend was the last thing on your mind, I have no doubt, but you have acknowledged how dangerous and foolish your actions were.”
Harrison was sentenced to 18 months detention in a young offenders’ institute suspended for 18 months.
She was also banned from driving for two years and was ordered to carry out 180 hours of unpaid work and to pay £600 in costs.