A banned driver who seriously injured his passenger when he crashed into a wall in Watford was jailed for three-and-a-half years today (Thursday, September 30).
Mohammed Rathore, 22, fled the scene leaving the man, who suffered a brain injury, in the overturned VW Golf.
Rathore threw off his clothes and clambered in through a window of a house in Hempstead Road where he told an astonished resident that he was fleeing drug dealers, St Albans Crown Court was told.
Prosecutor Nathalie Carter said that after he was handed clothes, Rathore said there had been an accident and a man was injured. He left the house and the resident called the police, who arrested Rathore nearby.
When tested for drug-driving, he was found to have excessive levels of cocaine and cannabis in his system.
Two days before the crash, Rathore had fraudulently obtained insurance by stating that he had no driving convictions.
Rathore, of Croxley View, Watford, appeared for sentence having pleaded guilty to causing serious injury by dangerous driving, driving while disqualified, fraudulently obtaining insurance, having no insurance and driving while over the limit for cocaine and cannabis.
Ms Carter said just after 1pm on December 16 last year Rathore was seen driving the VW Golf in Watford town centre.
The car had no MOT and, at the time, Rathore was serving a 19-month ban for driving with excess alcohol and drugs.
She said: “The police officer put on his lights for the car to pull over. He (Rathore) started to pull over, but then drove off at speed. “
The car went along Beechen Grove, Market Street, Exchange Road and Hempstead Road. At one point the pursuing police car was doing 80mph, but was not catching him.
A speed camera on Hempstead Road clocked the Golf, which had gone through a red traffic light, at 81mph.
Rathore crashed into a wall, causing over £2,400 damage, and ran off leaving his injured passenger inside the overturned Golf.
The prosecutor said the passenger suffered brain injuries and was put into an induced coma at St Mary’s Hospital in London. He had also inhaled the contents of his stomach into a lung.
Defending, Nicholas Evans asked for credit for his guilty plea. He said the pursuit had lasted only one minute 40 seconds at a time when there few road users.
He said: “He is utterly ashamed and utterly embarrassed. He was suffering from depression and medical health issues and was self-medicating.
“He no longer uses drugs. It (the accident) has caused a change in him.
“The injuries were very serious, but the victim has recovered.”
Jailing him, Judge Richard Foster said: “This was disgraceful and stupid behaviour.
“The police on the blue light. Rather than stop they pursued you at high speed.
“You crashed the car into a wall and caused a serious injury to your passenger.
“At the time you were disqualified, having previously been convicted for excess alcohol and drugs. You fled the scene, shed your clothes and told lies.”
The judge also banned him from driving for three years from the time he will be released from prison.