Clifton motorist Robert Smith fled BMW crash scene that left his passenger disabled

Robert Smith
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A motorist who fled the scene of an crash which left his young passenger in a wheelchair has been jailed for four months.

The victim, Jade Shaw, suffered life changing injuries in the crash when she suffered spinal injuries.

Warehouse manager Robert Smith, 30, lost control of his silver BMW 320i on Church Lane, Clifton, at around 4.50pm on May 20 last year and collided with a wall - but despite suffering a broken foot, limped away from the scene, leaving his injured passengers.

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Prosecuting, Andy Robinson said the woman suffered serious injuries to her spine and had to be cut from the vehicle.

Two other passengers were treated at hospital for minor injuries.

The dad-of-one, of Meadow Drive, Clifton, admitted driving without due care and attention, failing to report an accident, and failing to stop, but was found guilt after a trial of drug driving, which he had denied.

Smith was handcuffed in the dock as Deputy District Judge McDade, sitting at Preston Magistrates' Court, said he had caused the "utmost imaginable harm".

It is understood Smith called police from the hospital the following day to report the accident.

When he was tested 17 hours after the accident, he was found to have benzoylecgonine in his blood.

The judge said: " As far as failing to stop is concerned, I don't accept for one moment that you went for any reason than being careless.

"You've been convicted of drug driving during a trial and so you can be given no credit for your plea.

"I think the worst factor by far of this incident is you've left the scene and must have known there was a real possibility of passengers who had been injured - that is nothing more than careless."

Smith's defence lawyer said: "This young lady was critically injured and clearly the effects are life changing for her.

"Mr Smith feels deeply, deeply upset about that and about the consequences of this day.

"I think it is important to note he wasn't driving dangerously. He never been charged with causing serious injury by dangerous driving and there's no evidence of speeding - he simply lost control.

"I'm told Miss Shaw was not wearing a seatbelt and every other passenger was in the vehicle.

"But he accepts what should not have happened is that he left the scene. He tells me this was out of pure panic.

"He has concurred he left the vehicle - he didn't run away from the scene. He had a broken foot and it was virtually impossible. He says he walked off in a daze."

Smith was disqualified from driving for a year and must pay £2,000 at £5 a week until he is back in employment after his jail term.

He has launched an appeal.