A ‘bat out of hell’ driver who ploughed into a Ford Ka near Jeremy Clarkson’s Diddly Squat Farm branded himself ‘selfish and reckless’.

Kaleb Cooper, the Top Gear star’s sidekick in TV series Clarkson’s Farm, is understood to have helped first responders block off the road to traffic in the wake of the crash near Chadlington.

Lewis Smith, 25, was behind the wheel of his friend’s Ford Fiesta when he ignored give way signs at a junction, sped down the A361 near Chadlington, cut a blind bend and smashed into the oncoming Ford hatchback on September 15, 2021.

READ MORE: Jeremy Clarkson breaks silence after Diddly Squat planning appeal

A number of people staying in a nearby campsite – including off-duty police officers – heard the crash and rushed to the victims’ aid.

Neither Smith, whose driving was likened by a witness to a ‘bat out of hell’, or his passenger were wearing seatbelts.

Both were left with serious injuries in the crash. The front seat passenger – and the owner of the Fiesta – suffering a bleed on the brain.

The driver of the Ka was trapped in her car for hours before she could be cut free and airlifted to the John Radcliffe Hospital. Her teenage daughter was uninjured but had struggled with severe post-traumatic stress disorder as a result of the crash.

Paramedics took Smith to hospital, where a sample of his blood was taken and showed that although he had alcohol in his system it was below the legal drink-drive limit.

In a letter to the judge, the defendant said of the crash: “I will always have this on my conscience for the rest of my life and that is my burden.”

He apologised directly to the victims, saying he was ‘acutely aware of the harm I have caused’.

Smith added: “I was selfish and reckless and I am prepared to accept the consequences [of] my behaviour.”

Witney Gazette: Lewis Smith's police custody shotLewis Smith's police custody shot (Image: Thames Valley Police)

Mitigating, James Hay read from the letter of his client’s current partner – heavily pregnant with their daughter - who described him as a ‘family man with a kind heart and good values’.

A former partner and the mother of his four-year-old firstborn said Smith was a ‘kind, helpful, loving person’.

The scaffolder was extremely remorseful, Mr Hay told the judge, asking that his client was spared an immediate prison sentence.

Smith, of Old London Road, Chipping Norton, pleaded guilty to causing serious injury by dangerous driving.

Sentencing, Recorder John Bate-Williams said the matter was so serious only an immediate custodial sentence was appropriate.

He sent Smith down for two years, banned him from driving for 24 months and ordered he take an extended retest before he was allowed his licence back.

“You deliberately drove at a very excessive speed and an obviously dangerous speed after ignoring the need to stop or give way to traffic on the main road,” the judge said.

“You seem to have paid no thought at all to the likelihood of oncoming traffic, poisoned as you were by some degree of alcohol and what seemed to me to be a desire to put [your friend’s] car through its paces with what can only be described as catastrophic consequences.”

Witney Gazette: Click here to sign up to the Crime and Court newsletter Click here to sign up to the Crime and Court newsletter (Image: Newsquest)