A paraplegic crack cocaine addict from Exeter, Devon, who had not passed his driving test, turned a car into his own disabled motor by using a litter picker to operate the accelerator and a metal pole wired to the foot brake. Police discovered Roy Story's unusual and dangerous bodge job when he lost control of his automatic Saab 9-5 and crashed into two cars. They helped Story, 50, from the car and into his wheelchair – and were about to let him go after telling him he would be reported before they saw what he had done. A topless man fled the scene and Story claimed the other person had been behind the wheel for most of the way as they drove the 120 miles from London to Bristol. Story said he had only taken over as they left the motorway and driven through Bristol before the accident. He smashed into two cars, both of them carrying children, at one of the busiest roundabouts in the city after jumping a red light.
Story, who lost the use of his legs after an accident, told police he had suffered a spasm in his leg because of a urinary infection which caused his car to lurch forward.
He told police he had fixed up the controls himself, without having a professional check them because there was "no legal requirement to".
Story said he thought the controls were safe and described them as: "A fixed push-pole on the brake.
A not-fixed pole on the accelerator, which I push. I don't want it fixed, in case it gets stuck."
Story pleaded guilty to dangerous driving and without insurance and was jailed for 14 months.
Judge Euan Ambrose at Bristol Crown Court ruled his ability to control the automatic Saab 9-5 car was "grossly impaired".
"There is no doubt this offence was so serious only immediate custody can be justified," he said.
Story was banned from driving for three years and told to pass an extended driving test.
A hearing will take place in April to determine how much compensation Story should pay to the crash victims.
Neil Treharne, prosecuting, said Story's car first hit a gold Honda Accord driven by Asela Jayasundara Kankanamalage with his daughters aged eight and ten, and niece, 13.It then spun round and hit a black VW Golf being driven by Laila McKenzie who was with her partner and their two children on the back seat.
Mr Treharne said: "Mr Kankanamalage watched as a topless male got out of the passenger side of the Saab and ran off.
He saw that the driver remained in the driver's seat, looking panicked, until the arrival of the paramedics and the police."
He said the Honda was written off and the occupants of the two cars Story hit suffered stiffness and pain.
Story said he had paid £1,700 in car insurance, but was still not properly insured, and although he didn't have a full driving licence, he was being supported by a driver with a full licence.
But this could not be checked as the man had run away from the crash near Bristol Temple Meads station.
Story claimed his passenger had driven the car from London on the M4, before he took the wheel in Bristol, hoping to find a hotel because the other man was falling asleep.
Story was apologetic that children were involved in the smash but a probation officer said he had a "total lack of regard" for his own safety, as well as others.
Daniel Woodman, defending, said his client's offences had been driven by previous amphetamine and heroin use over a lengthy period.
He said seven years ago Story was paralysed in an accident when being treated at an NHS hospital.
Mr Woodman said: "After paralysis, he became involved in abuse of crack cocaine and recently spent 28 days in residential rehabilitation to address the issue. He would welcome support to stay clean."
Mr Woodman said a civil hearing at the Royal Courts of Justice in London resulted in the NHS admitting liability for Story's paralysis, and the only question remaining was the amount of compensation to be awarded to him.