Soldier, aged 20, from Northamptonshire forced to leave Army after horrific head-on car crash

Jack in hospital recovering from his injuries
Jack in hospital recovering from his injuries
Share this article

A young army engineer’s military career has been left in tatters because of life-changing injuries he suffered in a head-on crash caused by two drivers.

Jack Childs Watson is using Road Safety Week to speak for the first time about his battle to overcome life-changing injuries he suffered when two cars crashed into his vehicle as they attempted to overtake a lorry and a coach.

Jack and his step-dad Mark Watson

Jack and his step-dad Mark Watson

The 20-year-old suffered multiple injuries, including fractured eye sockets, complete loss of site in his left eye, fractured cheekbones, multiple leg fractures, a ruptured spleen and lacerated liver in the crash which happened on 25 November last year.

He was admitted to the Intensive Care Unit at Walsgrave Hospital and remained in hospital for two weeks.

Jack, who realised a life-long ambition when signed up to become a vehicle mechanic in the Royal Electrical and Mechanical Engineers in January 2016, instructed expert serious injury lawyers at Irwin Mitchell to investigate his accident and secure funds to help with his recovery and rehabilitation. It is likely he will be discharged from the The Army.

He is now using Road Safety Week to reveal the far-reaching consequences road users can suffer because of the reckless actions of motorists.

Jack shortly after he signed up to The Army

Jack shortly after he signed up to The Army

Jack, of West Haddon, Northants, said: “The whole experience has been a nightmare. I like to be active and being in The Army was a dream come true for me but it is like someone has pressed the stop button now and I am trying to come to terms with what happened.

“Unfortunately I know all too well the devastating impact that dangerous driving can have on people. My dreams and aspirations for a career in The Army will never be realised because of this.

“My life has been changed forever because of the reckless actions of other motorists. I hope my accident and experience will highlight the need for concentration and safety on the road.”

Jack was a front seat passenger in a friend’s Honda Civic, when without warning the drivers of a Volvo S60 and a Ford Fiesta pulled out to overtake a coach and lorry as they approached the brow of a hill on the A423 near Princethorpe, Rugby.

The Volvo driver was sentenced to two years in prison and the Fiesta driver received a 10-month custodial sentence in August after they pleaded guilty to four counts of dangerous driving occasioning serious injury and one charge of dangerous driving respectively.

Jack also sustained a fracture to each of his ribs, a fracture to his right wrist, a partially collapsed lung, and a broken pelvis.

Since the accident Jack has undergone surgery to fix his right eye socket, as well as surgery on both cheekbones, his wrist and a fracture to his left foot from which there is no guarantee of success. He has been warned by medical staff that there is an increased risk to his vision in his right eye, and that further surgical procedures will likely be needed to help his recovery.

As well as the physical injuries Jack has suffered, the crash has left him suffering emotionally as well as he is likely to be discharged from The Army on medical grounds, bringing an end to what he had hoped would be a life-long career.

Jack, who has been receiving his rehabilitation at Headley Court, said: “It was always my dream from being a child to join The Army and travel the world. The fact that it is likely I will have to be medically discharged from The Army has been really difficult to come terms with.

“A bad decision taken by others in a split-second has turned my life upside down. However, I’m determined to try and not dwell on the past though and I am looking forward and focusing fully on my rehabilitation.”

Georgina Moorhead, a solicitor and the serious injury lawyer at Irwin Mitchell’s Bristol office representing Jack, said: “This incident highlights the tragic and devastating consequences a lack of concentration, attention and thought for other road users behind the wheel can have.

“Due to the actions of these men, a young man has been permanently and very seriously injured and will need significant rehabilitation to regain some form of independence. We will continue working with Jack and his family to help him secure the necessary funds to help to maximise his long term recovery.”

Brake’s Road Safety Week runs from 20 to 26 November.