A FRENCH motorist has been handed a suspended prison sentence after admitting causing a crash in Powys that left a motorcyclist with devastating injuries.

Isabelle Leruste pleaded guilty to causing Gary Weston serious injury by careless driving in Bronllys, near Brecon, on June 5 last year.

The accident happened just outside Bronllys Hospital, where French national Leruste worked as a support worker for children with autism, as she was leaving work.

Her Saab car collided with Weston’s Honda motorbike after she veered into the oncoming carriageway and hit him head on – with the reasons for why she did so still unknown.

Mr Weston’s wrist was nearly severed and he suffered multiple fractures, including multiple ribs, his tibia, hip, knee and left wrist.


Llandrindod Wells Magistrates’ Court heard this week how Leruste, 52, had been left “particularly distraught” by causing the crash as she lost both of her parents and her sister in a car crash.

Prosecutor Shane Maddocks told magistrates on Wednesday, January 31, that the incident happened at around 8.55pm, as Leruste, of King Street, Brynmawr, was leaving work.

“Witnesses following the victim said there were no issues with the manner of his driving," said Mr Maddocks. "For reasons unknown the defendant’s vehicle crossed over to the other side of the road and there was a head on collision.

“Mr Weston said he didn’t have time to brake and there was a huge bang. He said ‘the next thing I knew was a lady talking to me and leaves everywhere’.”

Doctors said Mr Weston suffered a severe wrist fracture, with some tendons severed, multiple right rib fractures, a blood clot in a major vessel of the lung, an open fracture to a tibia, a fractured hip, a fractured knee and fractured left wrist.

In a victim impact statement read out by Mr Maddocks, Mr Weston said: “I worry about the long-term effects of my injuries as I get older.

“It has changed my life completely. I struggle to sleep some nights due to the pain. I have had 10 operations since the crash. My right leg is still in a metal frame.

“It causes continuous pain. I cannot walk very far as the pain and fatigue kick in. I had hobbies such as archery, snooker, piloting, motorcycling, walking and hiking – none of these are possible with the injuries.

“I will need an adapted car when I can drive again. I did not work from June-September, and while I have returned part-time I cannot do any physical work and rely on colleagues for transport and on my mother to wash and clothe me.”

County Times:  Isabelle Leruste was jailed at Llandrindod Magistrates' Court on Wednesday for 26 weeks - but her sentence was suspended. Isabelle Leruste was jailed at Llandrindod Magistrates' Court on Wednesday for 26 weeks - but her sentence was suspended.

Probation officer Donna Davies interviewed the defendant and said she had been unable to provide a clear reason why the incident occurred.

“She finished work, she recalled waving to a colleague, a few seconds later she saw a bike, she could offer no explanation as to why she veered into the opposite lane,” said Ms Davies.

“She suffered a breakdown following the event and has given up work.

“She has not been coping very well since the accident. She cannot understand what happened."

Representing Leruste, Gareth Walters said this was his client’s first time before a court and she had no previous record.

“One of the very first things she asked me this morning was for an update on the victim,” said Mr Walters.

“She has no recollection of the collision. It is a very strange case as all the evidence says ‘for reasons unknown’ the car crossed into the opposite lane.

“There was no suggestion she was driving fast or in an inappropriate manner. There is no evidence of drink, drug or mobile phone use."

County Times:

“She has tried for the last 6 months to understand how she came to be in the wrong lane; she has even been back to the scene to see if her memory can be jogged.”

He said Leruste had a clean driving licence.

Magistrates jailed Leruste for 26 weeks – but suspended the period of imprisonment for 18 months.

As part of the sentence, she will complete 15 rehabilitation activity days. She must pay a £154 surcharge and £85 costs. She will also be banned from driving for 2 years.