Driving instructor and pupil seriously injured in horror head-on crash during lesson

A driving instructor has been left with a fractured spine after a head-on crash during a lesson which also left her pupil seriously injured.

Police are searching for the driver of a Vauxhall[1] Vivaro van who fled the scene after crashing into instructor Donna Brookes’ white Corsa car. Donna, 33, was teaching a pupil when the silver Vivaro van is believed to have overtook other vehicles and collided with her.

She was rushed to hospital to be treated for a fractured spine, cuts and bruises from the incident, which happened on the A47 Acle Straight near Great Yarmouth, Norfolk. Claire Wyatt, business and operations manager at NxtGen Driving Academy, says Donna is in ‘really high spirts’ despite her injuries.

Claire, 42, said: “Given what she’s gone through, she’s in really high spirits but is really shaken up. She’s got a spinal injury and is going to be off work for the foreseeable future and will need 24/7 care for family and friends. She’s in a full body brace so can’t really do anything for herself – she can’t walk or stand up for long periods of time.

“She’s obviously in a lot of pain so it’s going to be a really long road to recovery and that doesn’t have a time frame. It’s just a case of taking things day by and day and seeing how she gets on. We don’t know if emotionally she will be able to teach again.”

Dunelm shoppers praise stylish but sturdy garden bench that doubles as storage[2]
Donna Brookes' Corsa following the crash
Donna Brookes’ Corsa following the crash (
NxtGen Driving Academy/SWNS)

Claire says Donna, who has been an instructor for seven years, was teaching a man in his forties when the accident happened at around 8.16am on May 16. Luckily, he only has internally bruising and a few cuts from the incident and says he ‘wants to get back driving’ as soon as possible.

Claire said: “He’s very, very badly bruised and has cuts and internally bruising. The air bag went off in his face so he had that impact to his face but completely unscathed apart from the bruises and cuts. He’s showing incredible resilience and has a motorcycle, so he’s used to being out on the road and has a lot of road sense.

“Therefore, he’s dealt with this a lot better than what a younger person would have done. He’s very keen to get back onto driving because he’s got a young family so he’s very keen to get back to driving. He’s been in bed for four to five days, just sleeping and resting as much as he can but he wants to get back on the road as soon as possible.

“It’s just incredible – he’s blown us away.” Claire says she believes the van driver was only there ‘for a few minutes’ after the crash as they then fled the scene in a red Volkswagen Polo. She said: “As far as we know, the driver was there for a few minutes.

The silver Vauxhall Vivaro van that Donna's Corsa crashed into
The silver Vauxhall Vivaro van that Donna’s Corsa crashed into (
NxtGen Driving Academy/SWNS)

“We’ve put a plea on Facebook[3] and people have come forward to say the driver had asked someone if they could get into the car because their partner needed a wee. The passer-by said no and drove off but he came forward as a witness.

“It turns out they did get into a vehicle but we don’t know if that was someone who they knew or another passer-by who was also targeted. But they did flea in a red Polo.”

Claire has now set up a Just Giving page to help support Donna, of Great Yarmouth, Norfolk, as it’s unknown when she will be able to back to work. She said: “We know she’s going to be off work for a length of time and we don’t know how long. As a driving instructor, your whole salary is gone because you can’t drive, you can’t work and you can’t teach.

“She won’t be able to get any income so it’s a support fund we’ve set up for her. We don’t know how long her recovery will be – it could be 12 weeks, it could be six months or it could be nine months. We just really want her to have a peace of mind and have a pot of money to give her comfort.”

A Norwich Police spokesperson says that enquiries are currently ongoing to locate the occupants of the Vivaro van. They said: “A silver Vauxhall Vivaro van and white Vauxhall Corsa were involved in the collision. The passenger of the Corsa, a woman aged in her 30s, suffered serious injuries and was taken by ambulance to James Paget Hospital.

“Occupants of the Vivaro van failed to stop at the scene. Enquiries are ongoing to locate them. Anyone with any information or relevant dashcam footage of the incident is asked to get in touch by the methods below, quoting reference NC-16052024-60.”

You can donate to the Just Giving page here[4].


  1. ^ Vauxhall (www.mirror.co.uk)
  2. ^ Dunelm shoppers praise stylish but sturdy garden bench that doubles as storage (www.mirror.co.uk)
  3. ^ Facebook (www.mirror.co.uk)
  4. ^ here (%20https)