THREE people were badly hurt in a crash caused by an “angry” taxi driver.
A court heard how Mohammed Saleem was frustrated because a fare he had been sent to collect did not turn up.
One driver, Richard Mellor, had to brake and swerve to avoid a collision with Saleem’s taxi and he remarked: “He’s going to kill someone if he continues driving like that”
And eventually, Saleem’s car ploughed head-on into another taxi in notorious crash-spot Meltham Road, Lockwood, leaving the occupants badly injured.
Bradford Crown Court heard how one casualty was a bridesmaid returning home after a wedding, who suffered a catalogue of serious injuries.
Jodie Miller, 19, initially appeared to be “walking wounded” following the late-night collision, but after being admitted to hospital she was found to have suffered broken vertebra, two broken ribs, a punctured lung, lacerated spleen, torn duodenum and tears to her stomach.
Prosecutor Dave Mackay told the court that the teenager underwent two operations during her month-long stay in hospital and had a titanium plate screwed to her vertebra.
Her boyfriend James Westcott suffered bruising, soreness and a cut to his forehead, but their taxi driver Ghullam Abbas Khan was also badly injured.
The court heard that Mr Khan suffered a fractured right hip, requiring the insertion of an artificial socket and plates, as well as other cuts and bruises.
He was in a coma overnight and also spent a month in hospital.
Their taxi had been hit head-on last July by the cab being driven by 26-year-old Saleem and yesterday he was given a 12-month prison sentence, suspended for two years, after he admitted dangerous driving and inflicting grievous bodily harm on Miss Miller and Mr Khan.
Saleem, of Glebe Street, Marsh, was ordered to do 300 hours unpaid work for the community and he must also take an extended driving test at the end of his five-year driving ban.
Mr Mackay told Judge Jonathan Durham Hall QC how Saleem’s Vauxhall Astra was seen driving at speed and overtaking other motorists shortly before the collision.
Saleem’s taxi was said to have narrowly avoided another collision with an on-coming car before he pulled out to overtake newly-qualified driver Samantha Marriott.
Mr Mackay said the manoeuvre took place at a location where the road is a blind right-hand bend cresting a hill.
The impact of the head-on crash spun both cars around and Miss Miller and her partner described being thrown around in the back despite the fact that they were wearing seatbelts.
“The impact caused massive damage to both taxis,” said Mr Mackay.
Saleem, who suffered a broken arm and ribs in the crash, was arrested from hospital the next morning.
He claimed he was driving normally and said something came into the side of him and he blacked out.
When asked if he had overtaken any cars he said: “No. I would not overtake on that road. I know the circumstances of that road, how dangerous it is. There’s been major accidents on that road as well.”
But sentencing Saleem, Judge Durham Hall said on the night of the crash he had been sent to pick up a fare that wasn’t there and he was rushing back to town angry and frustrated.
“You made a series of mistakes in the driving of your taxi,” the judge told Saleem.
“You frankly conceded you were driving dangerously and when you made a reckless overtaking manoeuvre you collided with another taxi causing fortunately not fatal but serious injury.”
After describing Saleem as a hard-working and responsible son, the judge said he hoped that it would be made clear to the victims that he had taken the course he had because of the “more punitive effect” of a long community order.
The judge also expressed the hope that Saleem would also permit the quick resolution of any financial aspects connected with the crash.
But he warned Saleem that the seriousness of his offending meant that no breaches of the order would be tolerated and if he was brought back to court he would send him to prison.