A student who “momentarily” lost control of his car on the A483 near Welshpool causing a crash which left a family with serious injuries has been sent to a young offender’s institution for eight months.

Joshua Holliday was returning home to South Wales when he veered over the middle of the road and hit an oncoming vehicle drive by Tracey Hughes, who was travelling with her family from Welshpool to Wrexham.

Ms Hughes suffered broken ribs and after spending weeks in hospital faces knee replacement surgery as her bone fracture was so severe.

Her five-year-old son was also injured, along with her partner, and Judge Niclas Parry told him: “This family consider themselves extremely fortunate to be alive, the consequences could have been catastrophic.”

And in jailing Holloway, who the court heard was waiting for his “A” level results in readiness to go to Worcester University, he added: “You quite inexplicably drove your vehicle into the path of an oncoming vehicle and they had no opportunity to avoid a life-changing collision.”

While her five-year-old son was taken to Alder Hey Children’s Hospital in Liverpool where he was diagnosed with internal injuries, including bleeding to his liver, Ms Hughes’ partner, Mark Manley, suffered a wrist injury and was also hospitalised.

Prosecutor Matthew Curtis said the collision was recorded on the dash camera of another vehicle.

“It showed the defendant driving normally until he inexplicably drifted across the central lines,” said Mr Curtis.

Holliday, 19, of Llys Cilsaig, Llanelli pleaded guilty to causing serious injury by dangerous driving on November 12 last year.

Defence barrister Jonathan Austin said Holliday, who had only been driving for a year, accepted responsibility for the crash.

“It was entirely his fault and he doesn’t have it in him to try and suggest something to put himself in a better light,” he said.

“There is no explanation for this momentary loss of control. He has spoken to his doctor as to what may have caused a petit mal, a form of epilepsy.

“He had been to a memorial service in Wrexham before setting off on the long journey home. He is a very respectable young man and he is extremely remorseful.”

Holliday was also banned from driving for two years and four months.