Man cripples friend in 70mph crash while high on drugs

Wreck: The remains of the Renault Clio taken by banned driver Steven Reece
Wreck: The remains of the Renault Clio taken by banned driver Steven Reece
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A banned driver drove so fast when he collided with an oncoming bus that the front seat belt snapped and his passenger was thrown from the car.

Mechanic Steven Reece had been drinking and smoking cannabis at his house in Larchwood, Ashton, before getting in the car – which had defective brakes – with his two passengers to make the two-minute journey to the corner shop for cigarettes.

Cousins Sanjay and Himesh Modasdhia suffered horrific injuries in the collision in Larches Lane and have long-term health problems.

Both were unable to walk without crutches or a walking frame in the six months following the collision and have since been signed off sick from their jobs in Preston.

Blood tests taken three hours after the collision showed Reece was just within the legal limits of alcohol but had taken sufficient cannabis to impair his driving ability.

Reece has 95 previous convictions for violence, drugs, dishonesty and motoring, including 13 offences of driving while disqualified and three for drink driving.

He was banned from driving for five years in September 2012 – just 12 months before the collision in Larches Lane.

Reece pleaded guilty to driving while disqualified, driving without insurance, driving while unfit through drugs, and two counts of causing serious injury by dangerous driving.

He jailed Reece for three years and four months.

Judge Christopher Cornwall, sentencing, told Reece: “This is as bad a case of causing serious injury by dangerous driving as there could be.”

Preston Crown Court heard Reece had taken a car, which had been declared off the road, to valet over the weekend 
after it had been left at Preston Repair Centre for work to pass its MOT.

But at 5pm on Sunday September 22 he insisted his friends Himesh, 30, and Sanjay, 36, came in the car with him to a nearby shop.

The cousins both said Reece – who has previously been to prison for driving while disqualified – was driving dangerously, pulling out of junctions without looking and driving at excessive speeds, ignoring their pleas for him to slow down.

One eyewitness described the blue Renault Clio Sports approaching “like a bullet” and estimated it was travelling at 70mph in the seconds before Reece lost control, colliding first with a parked Ford Transit van and spinning into the path of the bus.

Front seat passenger Himesh was thrown from the vehicle hitting his head on the car roof before landing in the road in front of the wheels of the bus.

Sanjay, who was travelling in the back seat was thrown into Reece’s lap where he lost consciousness and had to be cut from the vehicle by fire crews.

Sanjay suffered a bleed to the brain, a fractured arm, shattered collarbone, two spinal fractures, a collapsed, lung fractured knee and multiple fractured ribs.

He was seen by neurosurgeons and had to have an operation to shorten the bone in his arm to allow the nerve to heal.

Sanjay still takes painkillers daily but is now able to walk without crutches.

In a victim impact statement, he told the court: “I was fit, healthy and active before.

“Now I am a shadow of my former self.

“Now I will be forced to live off benefits until I am healthy enough to try to find work which will be difficult.”

Himesh is still undergoing extensive medical treatment after suffering a series of operations for a broken arm.

He also suffered spinal injuries and nerve damage and doctors can not say if he will ever recover the sensation in his left hand.

He is now on long-term sick leave from his position with Talk Talk and told the court: “Every day is a constant battle with discomfort. I am constantly in pain.”