When Andrew Sanderson decided to go out and celebrate his friend’s 18th birthday it was a night that would change his life forever.
On his way home Andrew was flung 25ft into the air when a speeding drink driver hit him, causing horrific and near fatal injuries. Medics told Andrew, who was 18 at the time, he was lucky to survive.
He suffered a blood clot and swelling on the brain, a fractured skull, fractured collar bone, leg and a fracture and deep wound to his pelvis.
The former Kirkham Grammar School pupil cannot remember anything about the crash on January 3 last year – something his parents, Barry and Caroline Sanderson, believe is a blessing in disguise.
The couple spent an agonising six days at Andrew’s side in the Royal Preston Hospital while he was in a coma.
The prognosis was so grave they were given special accommodation at the hospital so they could be near their son.
Caroline added: “It was only because of his age he survived - they said an older person wouldn’t have.
“I saw him very briefly at Blackpool Victoria Hospital before they had to sedate him and take him to Preston.
“You are just in complete shock. We sat there day and night while he was in a coma, having that massive fear about what would happen.”
Andrew adds: “Very few people would survive. They said I came further in two days than people in other accidents come in two months. My mum said the scariest thing was watching the monitors keep going up to a critical level because of the pressure on my brain.”
The accident meant he was not fit enough to sit his A-levels that year.
But plucky Andrew, from Poulton, has battled back. He has secured a place studying philosophy and religion at Lancaster University, furthering his hopes of becoming a teacher.
It took him nine months and several operations to recover and he still has problems with his knee.
Recalling the moment they found out about the horrific smash, Barry, a financial director, says: “I answered the phone at 2.45am to one of Andrew’s friends who was just in shock - all he kept saying was Andrew’s going to be OK. I had no idea how serious it was.
“One of the best things to come out this was the goodness of other people. The support we had from family, friends and medical staff and even people who didn’t know us was incredible.”
Asked how he felt towards the two men, Andrew, now 19, says: “It feels bad that someone could do this, could leave you in that situation and then lie about it.”
Driver Matthew Harrison, 28, persuaded companion Dominic Shepherd, 45, to lie he was the driver to avoid being arrested after he hit Andrew at more than 49mph outside the NYX bar on
Talbot Road in Blackpool last year.
Harrison was jailed on Friday for five years while Shepherd, who lied for him, was given a suspended jail term. Both men are known to the courts. Harrison who used to live in Cloughfield, Penwortham, was fined in may 2014 for possessing cocaine and assaulting a woman - which led to a six month exclusion from The Army Navy Hotel, on Meadow Street, Preston.
He was caught with cannabis in April 2015. In October 2016 Shepherd was fined £250 and banned for 12 months for driving the same Audi with Benzoylecgonine, in his system.