A WOMAN was left horrifically injured in a high-speed Seaton Delaval smash caused by her friend showing off.
Damien Bontkowskyz was driving a souped up car at speeds of 100mph when he almost killed Natalia Buzzeo.
The driver had been showing off his Honda CRX to other car enthusiasts at Tynemouth, North Tyneside, before he crashed.
On his way home, he tried to take a corner too quickly, lost control and careered into the perimeter wall of Seaton Delaval Hall, in Northumberland.
The crash left 20-year-old Natalia with life-threatening injuries, including a head injury, severe fractures to her spine, arm, ribs, and serious internal injuries.
She was pulled from the wreckage by members of the public and taken to hospital, where medics were concerned about the injuries to her spine.
Natalia underwent several gruelling procedures involving pins and plates to treat fractures at the top of her spine, right arm, hand and foot and also suffered fractured ribs where the seat belt had kept her in place.
She also suffered severe cuts to her forehead and a cut in her liver which had allowed fluid to leak into her abdomen. She needed further internal surgery to drain the fluid and to repair the wounds.
Natalia, who lives with her mum Caroline in New Hartley, North Tyneside, is scarred and still recovering from her ordeal.
She said her life has been “wrecked” by 27-year-old Bontkowskyz, adding: “I am still suffering from mood swings, memory problems and struggle to concentrate too and it has been hard not being able to go back to work since the accident. But my mum and nana have been really great helping me.
“It is absolutely devastating to think I am scarred for life because of Damian’s reckless driving.
“I would never have got in the car with him if I had known he would drive so dangerously.
“It is not even been a year since the accident, but I am determined to get back to the old me as best I can.”
Natalia knew Bontkowskyz, of Chipchase Court, New Hartley, through a friend and was getting a lift home when he crashed.
Bontkowskyz, himself seriously injured, pleaded guilty to dangerous driving at Newcastle Crown Court and was given a 12 months suspended prison sentence with a four month curfew between 7pm and 7am. He was also banned from driving for two years.
Natalia said: “I felt sick when I saw Damien in court. I wanted to see him go to jail.
“I think he should have been banned from driving for life or sent to jail.” And she added: “I want to stop other people from getting in the car with idiot drivers.”