Hit-and-run driver jailed for three years

Hit-and-run driver who dodged police for four months after crashing a rented VW people carrier into a tree and seriously injuring three women passengers who were all on ‘hippy crack’ is jailed for three years

  • Levi Lowther, 26, had nine previous convictions including two for drug-driving 
  • He was banned from driving for 8.5 years at Minshull Street Court, Manchester 

A hit-and-run driver who vanished after leaving three women seriously injured in a horrific road smash was able to dodge arrest for four months – despite visiting one of the casualties in hospital.

Married father-of-three Levi Lowther, 26, was on the run from police but was said to have made ‘many trips’ to the bedside of his new girlfriend Kerry Stanley after his people carrier ploughed into a tree.

Another woman in the vehicle Tyeasha Campbell, 21, suffered a fractured spine and ribs, plus internal haemorrhaging and extensive liver damage following the 11pm smash in Stockport, Greater Manchester on December 30 2022.

Lowther denied he had taken ‘hippy crack’ along with his three passengers shortly before the crash.

At Minshull Street Crown Court, Manchester, Judge Angela Nield questioned why police had not arrested Scotsman Lowther earlier as she jailed him for three years after he admitted causing serious injury by dangerous driving.

Levi Lowther, pictured, left the scene of a crash leaving his girlfriend and two of her friends seriously injured after an incident in Stockport, Greater Manchester on December 30, 2022

Kerry Stanley, pictured, suffered a badly fractured leg after the VW Sharan she was a passenger in crashed. Ms Stanley and her three friends were not wearing seatbelts at the time of the incident

Miss Stanley suffered a badly fractured leg and had to learn to walk again whilst a third unnamed woman was also injured.

None of the three women were wearing seatbelts at the time of the impact and all had been inhaling ‘hippy crack’ nitrous oxide cannisters to loud music in the moments before the crash.

Officers linked the wrecked VW Sharan with Lowther’s father within 24 hours of the accident but he was not tracked down until the following April after police issued his picture in a public appeal. It emerged he first visited Miss Stanley on the night of the accident. Whilst not giving a statement to police she chronicled her fightback to full health on Facebook and TikTok.

Tyeasha Campbell, pictured, was also badly injured in the collision 

Sentencing Judge Angela Nield told the defendant: ‘The utter stupidity of your driving on the night in question has had a serious and wide-ranging impact on your friends and loved ones,’ she told Lowther. ‘You failed to stop after what was a catastrophic collision, which was the conclusion of your appalling level of driving.

‘The collision involved the deployment of every single emergency service after you fled the scene. Yet it is surprising you weren’t detained sooner, like on one of your many trips to the hospital when visiting your partner.’

The court heard Lowther from Annan, in Dumfries and Galloway, whose estranged wife lives in London went to collect Miss Stanley who is in her 20s following a works night out before embarking on a two hour road jaunt.

Nicholas Roxborough, prosecuting, said: ‘Ms Stanley introduced Miss Campbell to her partner, the defendant, who was driving them at the time. Miss Stanley said she also wanted to meet her friend but when the friend got to the car, she was intoxicated. The defendant was initially hesitant on driving her, but then agreed to drive the three passengers, and they departed at 9pm.

Minshull Street crown court heard Lowther was driving aggressively before losing control of the rented VW Sharan 

‘The defendant was driving a black VW, which was rented from Enterprise rent-a-car in his father’s name. Miss Campbell sat in the rear off side seat next to the other friend, while Ms Stanley sat in the front passenger’s seat next to the defendant, her partner. Almost as soon as the friend got in the car, the defendant’s driving changed dramatically. He began speeding, cutting up other cars and jumping red lights.

‘At some point in the journey, Miss Campbell told the defendant to “chill out” but in response, the defendant told her he “knew how to drive.” They stopped in Levenshulme to pick up nitros oxide (NOS) and balloons.

‘The two passengers in the back of the car, including Campbell, were using the NOS. The defendant also allegedly took NOS, although this is disputed. Footage taken by Ms Stanley in the front seat of the car shows the two passengers in the back using NOS to loud music.

‘After this, the defendant turned down a street with a dead end and then began to speed on toward Didsbury road. CCTV footage showed the vehicle speed across a box junction at 11.15pm and collided head on in with a tree. The footage showed the car took not effort to turn left or right and evade the tree.

‘Miss Campbell said all she remembered was hearing a bang and becoming unconscious. She then woke to see the vehicle in flames and heard the defendant scream that he had to go because he was on the run.

‘The defendant fled on foot as other passengers were helped out of the vehicle by passersby and moved on. All emergency services were called to the scene to search for the defendant, including the National Police Air Service.’

Lowther visited his girlfriend on the night of the crash in hospital, but was on the run for four months until police were able to find him

‘Miss Campbell was taken to Royal Salford Hospital’s accident and emergency department. She was in the hospital for three weeks and required surgery to her abdomen and spine. The other passenger sustained a fractured leg, ankle, pelvis and multiple lacerations.

‘The defendant was eventually identified and tracked down on the 30th of April 2023, despite the police linking the car with his father within the 24 hours. He gave false details to the police but his identity was later confirmed once he gave his fingerprint. He also provided no comment in interview..’

The court heard Miss Campbell was the only victim of the crash to speak to police. In a statement, she said, ‘My life has changed forever. I remember one moment being awake, then a catastrophic bang, then passers-by helping on the road. I then woke up in hospital three days later. As a result of the incident, I now have a range of serious, complex injuries.

‘My trauma still continues and will do for some time. Things as simple as work are still a struggle for me. I have gone from being an independent person to relying on family and friends. I have been unable to return to work because of my injuries. I love my job and have missed the social aspect of my work. I am 21 and lived a very social life before this. Now, I am unable to live the life I knew and had. This will take many years to recover from. The physical and mental trauma of the incident makes me anxious to even get into a car.’

Lowther also admitted failure to stop after a crash and driving without a licence or insurance and was disqualified from driving for eight and a half years. He had nine previous offences on his record including two drug driving convictions

Lowther also admitted failure to stop after a crash and driving without a licence or insurance and was disqualified from driving for eight and a half years. He had nine previous offences on his record including two drug driving convictions.

In mitigation, Rachel Cooper said, ‘The defendant could not force the other passengers to wear their seatbelts but accepts he could have taken extra care. He also accepts that he should not have left the scene but said he went to the hospital later that night to see his partner. He knew he was responsible for this and knew the impact it would have on his family. This is why he didn’t want to give up.’

‘He has three young children with his wife, not yet divorced. They have a very amicable relationship, and she lives in London with the children at the moment. He travelled down on a weekly basis to see them.

‘This has been a sobering experience for him, he doesn’t want to be the person who has seriously injured and impacted those people close to him. He won’t drive again.’

Lowther’s lawyer said their client ‘would never drive again’ after the December 2022 crash

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