A Lancashire taxi driver sustained life-threatening injuries in a head-on collision by a drink-driver who thought he was drinking “either low or no alcohol beer” at a party.
The court at Blackburn Magistrates heard how John Paton crashed into cabbie Munir Hussain soon after he picked up a fare in Clitheroe. The collision took place around the notorious “Devil's Elbow” road on 5th August.
Mr Paton who crossed onto the wrong side of the road before hitting the taxi driver and his passenger onboard said he had been drinking Miller Lite that evening, wrongly assuming it was a lower or no alcohol drink. He gave a blood reading totalling 132 against the legal limit of 80.
The intoxicated driver pleaded guilty to driving with excess alcohol and without due care and attention. As a result he was made subject to a community order for 12 months with five days' rehabilitation activity requirement, fined £170 with £85 costs and £85 victim surcharge and banned from driving for 20 months.
Mr Hussain suffered horrendous injuries as a result of the crash. He suffered a tear in his aorta, damage to his windpipe, 12 broken ribs, his left hip was broken, left knee fractured in three places, his left tibia and fibia crushed and his left ankle and foot broken. The cabbie was also bed-bound for two and a half months spending five weeks in hospital.
Olivia Heys, a passenger in Mr Hussian’s taxi said there was nothing the cabbie could do to avert the situation.
The defence, John Richardson, said Paton had been to a friend's 60th birthday party and had been drinking Miller Lite lager. He added "He assumed that was either low or no alcohol beer but he accepts he should have checked,"
Mr Richardson did add that the police and the passenger had said the taxi driver was not wearing a seatbelt at the time of the accident. On the subject the defence said "Taxi drivers are not required to wear a seatbelt and there can be no criticism of him for that, but it may explain why he suffered the injuries that he did,"