Cabbie who caused crash which left girl with brain trauma loses taxi licence

HAILING BAN ... Lisa Orrock and Chris Bootes with four-year-old daughter Jessica Bootes.
HAILING BAN ... Lisa Orrock and Chris Bootes with four-year-old daughter Jessica Bootes.

A TAXI driver who caused a five-car pile-up which left a four-year-old girl fighting for her life has had his licence revoked.

Amir Azad ploughed into the back of Lisa Orrock and Chris Bootes’ family car while they were stopped at traffic lights on the A194, near the Lindisfarne roundabout in Jarrow – leaving the couple’s four-year-old daughter, Jessica, suffering serious head injuries and years of medical treatment and rehabilitation.

Azad pleaded guilty to careless driving at South Tyneside Magistrates’ Court and was fined £250 and allowed to hold onto his licence after being given six penalty points.

But last night, South Tyneside Council announced it had revoked his licence to drive a taxi.

A council spokesman said: “We have decided to revoke Mr Azad’s taxi licence. Mr Azad has 21 days to appeal the decision.”

Jessica was injured despite being strapped into a booster seat in the rear of the car.

She was taken to Newcastle’s Royal Victoria Infirmary and spent 11 days in an induced coma and is still receiving regular treatment for her injuries.

Azad, 35, of Lilac Avenue, South Shields, was working for South Tyneside firm Dial-A-Cab at the time of the accident.

The company, which is based in Laygate, South Shields, sacked him immediately after the accident.

It is understood he had been taken on by another taxi company since.

South Tyneside Council announced it would be reviewing his licence following the court verdict.

Miss Orrock has described the council’s decision as “fantastic news” but says she will reserve judgement until the 21-day appeal process is over.

She said: “I believe it is the right thing to do and I appreciate the council coming to this decision.

“If it is confirmed and ends up in black and white, I will be elated.”

Miss Orrock says she remains disappointed at the court decision and says it is due to ‘massive flaws’ in the legal system.

The family believed Azad should have faced a charge of reckless driving – which carries higher penalties than a charge of careless driving.

Miss Orrock says there should be a charge between those already on the statute book.

She added: “There should be a charge of careless driving causing serious injury.

“We should be concentrating all our time on Jessica but we have to fight for this. I won’t stop fighting until changes to the law are brought in.

“We drove past that stretch of road yesterday and two cars cut in front of us. It is horrible driving past there. It is gut wrenching.”

“Tougher laws would mean people would, hopefully, take more care over their driving and think of the consequences of an accident.”

“What kind of message does that sentence send out?”

Azad wished to make no comment.