Nurse jailed for laughing gas crash
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London - A nurse who caused a head-on crash while inhaling ‘hippy crack’ at the wheel of her car was jailed on Tuesday.
Jordanna Best, 21, had an inflated balloon of nitrous oxide in her mouth and was steering with one hand when she careered on to the wrong side of the road on a blind bend.
She ploughed into an oncoming van, seriously injuring herself and her two passengers, her cousin Lauren Best and friend Harrison Oldfield, 18. It took firemen 90 minutes to free them from the car using cutting equipment.
Lauren Best suffered a fractured vertebra and injuries to her liver, while Mr Oldfield broke several ribs. The driver of the van suffered cuts and bruises. Jordanna Best suffered fractured ribs and a collapsed lung in the accident near Manchester United’s training ground in March.
It is thought the trio were heading home after buying the laughing gas drug, which is one of a number of legal highs banned in May.
Best, who at an earlier hearing had admitted causing serious injury by dangerous driving, was jailed for 20 months at Minshull Street Crown Court in Manchester.
The mental health nurse from Partington was also disqualified from driving for two years and ten months and must take an extended re-test.
David Graham, senior prosecutor for the Crown Prosecution Service in the North West, said: ‘Jordanna Best took a series of risks that night, putting other road users as well as her passengers at serious risk of harm with disastrous consequences.
‘She has accepted driving her car while inhaling nitrous oxide; not only would this have affected her ability to drive safely, it meant she had to drive with only one hand on the steering wheel, while the balloon she inhaled from would also have obscured her view through the windscreen.
‘She overtook another car before drifting again over the solid white lines into the path of oncoming traffic, while on a blind bend. The van driver she collided with did not stand a chance of avoiding the collision.
‘As a direct result of her reckless actions, her two passengers were seriously injured, the van driver was injured, plus she received fractured ribs and a collapsed lung.
‘Her actions alone were responsible for this serious collision that risked the lives of those involved.’
Before the ban, an estimated 500,000 young people a year took laughing gas, which is usually inhaled from a balloon and costs as little as 50p a time. It induces euphoria and relaxation, but experts warn it can result in serious health problems.
It has been linked to a drop in blood pressure and can lead to fainting and heart attacks when used regularly.
Seventeen deaths were linked to the use of laughing gas in the UK between 2006 and 2012.
Its supply and importation was made illegal under the Psychoactive Substances Act in May.
Prince Harry, Coronation Street actress Michelle Keegan and boxer Ricky Hatton are among those who have used ‘hippy crack’.
Last year England footballer Raheem Sterling, 21, got into trouble when footage emerged of him getting high on it. The video showed him giggling before seemingly passing out.
The canisters that contain the gas are also becoming an environmental hazard. Two tons of them were collected after Glastonbury Festival in 2014.