South Tyneside mum's petition to get '˜banned' taxi driver off the roads
Jessica Bootes was just four when she was seriously injured in a five-car crash on the A194 near Lindisfarne Roundabout, in Jarrow, in March 2014.
The youngster, now seven, spent 11 days in a coma and was given only 48 hours to survive. She had to have the left side of her skull removed, and suffered paralysis down the right side after the five-car collision.
Taxi driver Amir Azad, of Lilac Road, South Shields, smashed into the back of the family car while they were stopped at traffic lights. He was fined £250 and given six penalty points at South Tyneside Magistrates’ Court.
South Tyneside Council later revoked his taxi licence, but he has now secured one with Newcastle City Council and is working as a taxi driver.
Mum Lisa, from Harton, South Shields, has launched an online petition, which she will be sending to Newcastle City Council.
She said: “I had to do something. He was deemed unfit to drive a taxi by South Tyneside and now he’s working in Newcastle.
“Jessica has been left with life-changing injuries. Our lives will never be the same and he’s basically gone back to his old job – just in a new area.
“It’s beyond unfair.”
So far 377 people have signed the petition since it was launched three days ago. Lisa is aiming to gather 10,000 before she hands it over.
She added: “I won’t give up this fight. Jessica can’t cope with being in a car for more than 10 minutes. She doesn’t feel safe. I get panic attacks too and can’t drive long distances.
“I’m going to fight this. I don’t care what I’ve got to do or how long it take”
Newcastle City Council was unavailable for comment but previously told the Gazette: “A private hire driver’s licence application was considered and granted by the council on November 2015.
“All applications for a private hire licence must follow a robust legal framework and are considered by committee in accordance with guidelines issued by the Department for Transport and Home Office.
“Every application is subject to a rigorous checking process and is carefully considered. Convictions, cautions and driving licence endorsements are all taken into account and we rely on the Disclosure & Barring Service and DVLA vetting procedures together with advice from Northumbria Police.”