Driver fled the scene of horror crash

Crime story
Crime story

A MOTORIST who fled following a horror crash which left a taxi driver fighting for his life has been banned from driving and ordered to pay compensation.

Jason Bennett ran off following an early hours crash which left emergency crews working through the night to rescue private hire taxi driver Peter Gregory.

Mr Gregory, a cancer survivor, had to be put in a medically-induced coma and undergo life-saving surgery after suffering a fractured pelvis and multiple internal injuries – including a perforated bowel.

Wigan magistrates heard emergency crews took two hours to cut Mr Gregory from the wreckage following a crash at the junction of Scholes and Morris Street at about 3am on September 13 last year. He then spent more than six weeks in hospital and subsequently required the use of walking aids.

His brother Alan said at the time: “My brother had only just recovered from bowel cancer and his intestinal wall was very weak. The impact of the crash caused mass internal bleeding. He suffered life-threatening injuries and the people responsible just ran away.”

Bennett, 25, of Park Road, Hindley, admitted driving without insurance, failing to stop and failing to report the accident. In interview he told police how his friends had both got extremely drunk while out in Cheshire so he had offered to drive them home.

He admitted he “panicked” following the crash but realised his mistake a couple of hours later. Dan Gaskell, defending, argued that his client’s culpability stemmed not from his driving but from his conduct after the crash. He said Bennett briefly went to Mr Gregory’s Citroen after the collision and did dial 999 to report the accident - albeit several hours later.

Magistrates banned him from driving for 18 months and ordered him to complete 200 hours’ unpaid work. He was also ordered to pay £300 compensation to Mr Gregory, £85 costs and a £60 victim surcharge.

The owner of the Vauxhall Insignia Bennett was driving, car salesman Dean Atkins, 30, was also sentenced after he admitted drunkenly allowing Bennett to drive his company car uninsured. Atkins, of Cedar Drive, Whelley, told police he had only intended to have a couple of drinks but had ended up getting “very drunk”. He admitted giving Bennett the keys to his car to drive them home and described the crash as “a blur”.

He told the court: “I’m deeply sorry for the accident and for getting so drunk. I didn’t ask Jason to drive – he took it upon himself because he was sober - but I can only apologise to Mr Gregory.”

Magistrates added six penalty points to Atkins’ licence and ordered him to pay a £400 fine, £85 costs and a £40 victim surcharge.