Driver who crashed into house, injuring three, jailed for five years

A driver who smashed his powerful car into a family's front room and caused life-changing injuries has been jailed for five years, police have said.

James Andrew Sparham's high-performance VW Golf R burst into flames when it came off the road in Rawcliffe, York.

North Yorkshire Police said one of the residents, a man in his 50s, suffered serious life-changing injuries and had to endure a long stay in hospital.

House car crash - York
Police could find no evidence that the car had spun out of control (Danny Lawson/PA)

The 29-year-old driver's two passengers - a woman in her 30s and a man in his 20s - also sustained broken bones and lacerations.

The labourer, of Geldof Road, Huntington, York, was jailed at York Crown Court after he pleaded guilty to three counts of causing serious injury by dangerous driving and criminal damage.

North Yorkshire Police said he was also banned from driving for seven-and-a-half years.

The incident took place on Morehall Close in the early hours of September 3.

Police, firefighters and ambulance crews arrived to find a hole in the house and Sparham's Golf ablaze in the living room, next to the sofa.

The three occupants, including a child, in the house at the time managed to escape with help of local residents.

Witnesses later told police they heard "screeching" and saw the Golf being driven in a "dangerous" manner immediately before the crash.

North Yorkshire Police's Major Collision Investigation Team launched an investigation and carried out extensive forensic tests to determine what had happened.

Experts were unable to find any evidence that Sparham had tried to avoid a collision or any defects with the vehicle.

They also recreated the incident in a controlled environment, using a similar car, and determined that even with the steering at full lock, the car should not have lost control.

After the hearing, Detective Sergeant Jeremy Bartley of the Major Collision Investigation Team, who led the investigation, said: "The choices Sparham made that night have had a catastrophic impact on innocent people.

"The damage he did was not just to a family's home, but also to their health and their well-being - damage which continues to this day. Lives have been changed forever.

 "The sad thing is, our investigation has shown that this incident was absolutely avoidable. It didn't have to happen. It was an act of stupidity that had dire consequences."

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