Two 'racing' drivers jailed for causing St Helens Road horror crash
TWO “racing” drivers who sped at up to 80mph through Bolton before crashing and leaving a 12-year-old boy with "life-changing" injuries have been jailed.
Mohammed Patel, aged 20, and Furqaan Mohmed, aged 21, were among a group of young men who were said to be laughing after they crashed in St Helens Road, Daubhill, at 11.30pm on Sunday, July 22.
Patel and Mohmed, who was hoping to become a police officer, were racing each other in their Vauxhall Astra cars for about two miles before smashing into a BMW and spinning across the road - causing one of the cars to hit two pedestrians who were on their way home from a nearby mosque.
Their friend, Mohammed Vohra, pleaded guilty to perverting the course of justice after he lied to police, telling them he had been driving one of the cars in a "misguided" attempt to help Patel, who had been banned from driving.
Sentencing them, Judge Timonthy Clayson said no words could describe their driving.
CCTV, played in court, showed the cars racing at high speed before crashing.
Young victim Raheem Hussain suffered a serious brain injury and doctors initially feared they would have to amputate his right leg after the accident.
The 12-year-old had to be kept in a medically-induced coma for three weeks and could only be discharged from hospital two months after the crash.
He has been unable to return to school because of his injuries, which still need treatment, and he may have to use a wheelchair for the next six months.
Saleem Mogradia, aged 51, was walking home from evening prayers when he was hit by Patel’s car and was flung across the road, ending up under a parked car.
He needed plates inserting into his broken left arm, and was also left with broken ribs and a punctured lung.
Mr Mogradia said he has not been able to return to his job as a trader on Bolton Market since the accident.
Vohra, aged 20, avoided an immediate jail sentence after admitting perverting the course of justice by telling police he was driving one of the cars.
He later confessed his friend, banned driver Patel, was behind the wheel, Bolton Crown Court heard.
Lindsay Thomas, prosecuting, told the court witnesses saw Patel and Mohmed speeding along Beaumont Road at about 70mph before they went straight through red traffic lights.
A woman in a parked car in Hulton Lane said she had to quickly reverse onto the pavement to avoid a head-on crash, and thought she was "dead" when she saw the cars coming towards her.
As the drivers reached St Helens Road the cars, which were said to be on the opposite carriageway — hit a BMW turning right out of Randal Street.
Mrs Thomas said: “Mohmed’s vehicle spun in the carriageway and hit pedestrian barriers. Patel’s car spun. He hit a parked vehicle then mounted a footpath and collided with the 12-year-old boy. He was walking home after having prayers at the mosque.
“Patel’s vehicle continued into a bus shelter before hitting Mr Mogradia. It flung him under a parked car.”
She said the driver of the BMW told police that the group of people in the cars - each driver had several young male passengers - were laughing and did not appear to be taking it seriously.
Mohammed Nawaz, defending Patel, of Leach Street, Great Lever, said through “utter foolishness and bravado he and Mohmed egged each other on”, and denied that they had planned to meet up and race.
Patel, who ran a newsagents with his father, was banned from driving in May because of several driving offences, including using a mobile phone behind the wheel.
The court heard he “genuinely ashamed” by his actions and denied laughing.
Vohra, of Mancroft Avenue, Daubhill, was said by Hannah Wood, defending, to have “nothing to gain and everything to lose” by agreeing to take the blame for his friend of 15 years, Patel.
Mohmed, of Gibbon Street, Daubhill, defended by Ian McMeekin, worked for Greater Manchester Police as an operational support officer and dreamed of becoming a police officer.
He wrote a letter to Judge Clayson saying he looks back and wants to shout out to himself to say “not to be so stupid”.
Sentencing them, Judge Clayson said: “It was driving that involved a deliberate decision to ignore the rules of the road.
“I am satisfied you have experienced genuine remorse and understand the extent of the wider distress and unhappiness you have caused to so many people.”
None of the men had previous convictions.
Patel and Mohmed both admitted two counts of causing serious injury by dangerous driving.
Patel also admitted perverting the course of justice, driving while disqualified and driving without insurance.
He was jailed three years and 10 months in a young offenders institution, while Mohmed was jailed for two years and eight months.
Both drivers were banned from driving for four years.
Vohra admitted perverting the course of justice and was given a six-month jail sentence, suspended for 18 months. He was also ordered to complete 100 hours of unpaid work.
Sgt Danny Byrne, from Greater Manchester Police’s serious collision investigation unit, said the crash was the worst he had encountered in his career and that it was a miracle nobody was killed.
He added: “It sends the message out that you can’t drive in this manner and use the roads as a race track without there being serious ramifications.”
Sgt Byrne said Mohammed Vohra’s lies, by initially claiming to be one of the drivers, interfered with the police’s investigation because drug and drink tests were not taken from the actual driver, Mohammed Patel, straight after the crash.
Sgt Byrne said police operations had been carried out to target speeding drivers in St Helens Road and called for residents to report anybody driving dangerously to police.
He added: “The victims’ injuries were very serious injured. The 12-year-old boy and the man were just going about their daily business — and their lives have been shattered.
“They are making good recoveries and I hope these sentences will aid their continuing rehabilitation.”
You can read a live minute-by-minute account of today's court case here.