A reckless driver who left a pensioner lying helpless in the road with serious injuries after a hit-and-run crash has been spared jail.
Jordan Fox – who was uninsured and didn’t have a driving license – fled after he reversed into 73-year-old Michael Desborough in a ‘panic’ as he attempted to avoid being caught behind the wheel by police.
The 21-year-old stopped and got out of the car to say sorry –before getting back in his Nissan Almera vehicle and driving away.
He abandoned the car a short distance away but soon after returned to the crash scene at Delaval Court, South Shields, only to again make a sharp exit when he realised police and paramedics were already in attendance.
Fox admitted failing to stop after an accident, failing to report an accident, driving without due care and attention, and driving without a licence and insurance when he appeared in the dock at South Tyneside Magistrates’ Court yesterday.
The court heard that Mr Desborough suffered a broken pelvis, a fractured hip and lacerations to his head during the horror smash and spent weeks in hospital recovering.
I was lucky not to be killedMichael Desborough
In a victim statement read out in court, Mr Desborough said the crash had stolen away precious time for him to spend with his terminally-ill wife – who sadly lost her battle with cancer two months later.
He said he was lucky to be alive after the collision and urged magistrates to make full use of their sentencing powers to punish Fox.
Fox, of East Close, South Shields, was slapped with an eight-week jail sentence – suspended for 12 months – and must complete 150 hours of unpaid work, and was ordered to pay £500 compensation to Mr Desborough.
He was also banned from driving for two years.
Glenda Beck, prosecuting, said: “At 1.30pm on September police attended the scene of a fail-to-stop road collision involving an elderly pedestrian.
“There was no trace of the vehicle in the road but there were broken pieces from a light cluster. A Nissan Almera was found in a nearby cul-de-sac and the debris found matched the vehicle.
“The injured party had been walking on Delaval Court when a vehicle stopped at the junction with Chichester Road, reversed at high speed and collided with him.
“The victim suffered a broken pelvis, a suspected fractured hip and lacerations to his head.
“Mr Desborough said he was full-time carer for his terminally-ill wife, who relied completely on him.
“He confirmed it was daytime and the weather and visibility were fine at the time.
“He saw a car reverse at high speed and he said he knew he was going to be hit.
“The driver got out and asked if he was all right and said he was sorry.
“Mr Desborough told him he was bleeding but the male got back in the car and drove off.”
Valerie Bell, defending, handed over a letter of apology to the victim from Fox to magistrates.
Miss Bell told the court that Fox had taken the car for a short drive after fitting a new exhaust when he saw a police vehicle and tried to make a quick exit, failing to look in his mirrors as he sped off.
Miss Bell said: “He panicked, he didn’t see the man and accepts the collision was entirely his responsibility.
“He panicked in horror at what he had done and left the scene.
“It was a momentary example of bad driving, he didn’t check his mirrors as he reversed.
“He tried to come back and saw police and paramedics and admits he ‘freaked out’ and ran off home.
“He was located quite quickly and voluntarily attended the police station.”
Dave Errington, chairman of the magistrates, said: “We note the letter you have written and the remorse you have shown.
“However, it was a serious injury caused to the injured party and because of that we feel it has passed the custody threshold but this will be suspended.”
Mr Errington added the court felt unable to order compensation of more than £500 due to jobless Fox’s lack of means – but advised Mr Desborough that he could make a civil claim.
‘I was lucky not to be killed’
Pensioner Michael Desborough said he was lucky to survive a horror hit-and-run crash which had a ‘massive impact’ on his life.
The crash victim said weeks spent recovering from serious injuries meant he lost time he would have dearly loved to spend wit his terminally-ill wife – who sadly went on to lost her cancer fight in November.
In a victim statement read out in court, which was made shortly after the collision, Mr Desborough said: “This has had a massive impact on my circumstances.
“I am not able to look after my wife.
“I am on medication for constant pain and feel like this will restrict the time I have left with my wife.
“The thought of that is devastating.
“I realise I was lucky not to be killed.
“I would ask the court to utilise its full powers in relation to this case.”