Car crash cabbie appeals for his licence back

HORROR CRASH ... Jessica Bootes with parents Chris Bootes and Lisa Orrock.
HORROR CRASH ... Jessica Bootes with parents Chris Bootes and Lisa Orrock.

A TAXI driver stripped of his cab licence after causing a crash which left a four-year-old girl fighting for her life is appealing against that ban.

Amir Azad’s taxi licence was revoked by South Tyneside Council last month after he admitted a careless driving charge resulting from a five- car pile-up which left little Jessica Bootes with serious head injuries.

Azad’s Peugeot ploughed into the back of Chris Bootes and Lisa Orrock’s family car while it was stopped at traffic lights on the A194, near the Lindisfarne roundabout in Jarrow, on Tuesday, March 4.

Despite being strapped into a booster seat in the rear of her parents’ Volkswagen Polo, Jessica was left with one side of her skull missing, paralysis down the right side of her body and a loss of speech after her face smashed into the front passenger seat during the crash.

She was taken to Newcastle’s Royal Victoria Infirmary and spent 11 days in an induced coma.

The youngster is still receiving regular treatment at the hospital four months later.

Azad was initially arrested on suspicion of dangerous driving after the crash but was eventually charged with driving without due care and attention.

He admitted that charge at South Tyneside Magistrates’ Court in June and was fined £250 and given six penalty points on his licence.

After the case, council chiefs revoked his licence to drive a taxi in the borough, but he was given 21 days to appeal against that decision, an option he has now taken up.

Jessica’s mum Lisa, 31, of Centenary Avenue, Harton, South Shields, said: “I am disappointed but not entirely surprised that he has chosen to appeal, given the sheer lack of compassion that he has shown for Jessica’s situation.

“We were bracing ourselves for it. Any other decent human being would have taken it on the chin and not appealed and moved onto a new career. He should have felt that he had gotten away lightly and accepted that as a small punishment for what he did to my daughter.”

A council spokeswoman said: “We are aware that an appeal has been made against the decision to revoke Mr Azad’s licence.

“The appeal has been lodged directly with the magistrates’ court.”

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

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

No date for the appeal hearing has yet been set.

Jessica is now getting ready to start at Bamburgh School in South Shields in September.

Twitter: @shieldsgazchris