A23 horror crash: Dad told he will never walk properly again

A dad-of-two from Burgess Hill has been told he will never walk properly again after coming off his motorbike in a horror crash.

Joss Ackland passed his motorbike test on Friday (August 2), but crashed just two hours later when his Honda motorbike collided with debris on the A23 near Patcham.

Joss Ackland at the Royal Sussex County Hospital in Brighton. Photo by Derek Martin Photography

Joss Ackland at the Royal Sussex County Hospital in Brighton. Photo by Derek Martin Photography

The 27-year-old roofer suffered life-changing injuries in the crash and has been told he will never be able to climb scaffolds or ladders again – a job he has been doing for ten years.

He said: “It is just unbelievable. I have been literally crying my eyes out. My life is over.

“I am worried about my family – I have two young kids – and I can’t provide for them lying in a hospital bed.

“I have a business to run too and two employees that need to be sent somewhere to work. It is my livelihood.”

I have to change my whole lifestyle for three hours worth of riding.

Joss Ackland

Joss was on his way to a church in Brighton to drop off a USB stick for his best friend’s wedding, which was taking place the following day (Saturday, August 3).

His best friend, Daniel, was travelling on a motorbike behind him when the tragic crash happened.

He had also passed his motorbike test that day and the pair were going to ride their motorbikes to his wedding. Joss was Daniel’s best man.

Joss said: “I was on the A27 going towards the A23. I was behind two cars, one was in the fast lane and one was in the slow lane, I was in the middle lane.

Joss with his partner Christina and one of their two children

Joss with his partner Christina and one of their two children

“I went to go in the slow lane and there was a wooden pallet and debris all over the road.

“I hit the pallet and went up in the air for a few seconds then ended up on the floor.

“I was told that if I didn’t have the right gear on, such as leathers boots and a decent helmet, I wouldn’t be alive.

“When I came off the bike I went in the air and slid along the road going past seven lampposts.”

Joss on his motorbike before he set off on Friday (August 2)

Joss on his motorbike before he set off on Friday (August 2)

Joss said a paramedic and doctor who were passing at the time of the crash stopped to help him. They were off duty at the time. A member of the public also stopped to help him.

“We heard sirens and an ambulance went past, I thought it was for me but it wasn’t,” said Joss.

“The lady who was helping me was calling for an ambulance but she was told there wasn’t one available.

“Another ambulance was then coming towards us and it stopped. It was on its way to another job but stopped for me instead as it was more urgent.

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Joss with his two girls

Joss with his two girls

“The police came down – apparently they were on their way to clear the debris after people alerted them about it.”

Joss said he was at the road side for about half an hour before being rushed to the Royal Sussex County Hospital in Brighton.

He was told at the hospital that he had broken the main part of his thumb and had shattered his left ankle.

“I have got to have operations on both but I have to wait until the swelling has gone down,” he said.

“I’ve been told by the doctor I will never walk properly again and I will not be able to climb scaffolds or ladders which will affect my business.”

Joss grew up in Burgess Hill and now lives in East Grinstead with his partner, Christina, 25, and their two little girls, aged two and seven months.

He said: “Christina is traumatised and my mum has been here quite a lot.

“I am just hoping I can get out of here as soon as possible.”

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Joss spent £4,000 on the motorbike a couple of days before the crash. He travelled to Wales to pick it up.

“It was always my dream to ride a motorbike,” he said.

“But I’m never going to get on a motorbike again.

“I had such a passion for them and my dreams have come crashing down. I have lost my bike and I have to change my whole lifestyle for three hours worth of riding.

“You can be the safest rider on the road but it’s everyone else. I was going at a normal speed.”

Joss has been a roofer for ten years and has owned his own company – Jackland Roofing – for two years.

He said he is desperate for someone to come forward with dash-cam footage that would show how the pallet came off.

“My mate was two to three cars behind me and the debris was already there so the dash cam is vital,” he added.

A spokesman for Sussex Police said: “A motorcyclist was seriously injured after colliding with debris on the A23 near Patcham.

“Emergency services were called to the scene north of the A23/A27 junction, close to the Pylons, just after 3pm on Friday (August 2) where a large crate or pallet was reported to have fallen from a lorry.

“It had been struck by other vehicles creating a large amount of debris, which was then hit by a motorcyclist.

“The rider of a Honda CBR 600 RR-7, a 27-year-old man from Burgess Hill, was taken to the Royal Sussex County Hospital in Brighton with serious leg and hand injuries.

“Anyone who witnessed the incident or who has dash cam footage from the area at the time is asked to report online (www.sussex.police.uk/contact/af/contact-us/) or call 101 quoting serial 943 of 02/08.”

Joss in hospital. Photo by Derek Martin Photography

Joss in hospital. Photo by Derek Martin Photography

Joss with one of his girls

Joss with one of his girls