Shocking toll of drink-driver: three hurt, five cars damaged

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A drink-driver who crashed head-on into a taxi, injuring three people and damaging five vehicles, has been jailed for two years.

James Henderson, 33, collided with the cab after he stole the keys to a Vauxhall Astra and drove it away from its owner’s home in Sowerby Bridge.

Within minutes the Astra was seen travelling at speed along Newlands Avenue, where it hit the taxi.

Bradford Crown Court heard that as a result of that collision in April a motorcyclist travelling behind the taxi also hit the cab and the rider was thrown from his machine.

Judge Jonathan Durham Hall QC was told the cab driver and a passenger were taken to hospital with injuries and the motorcyclist was also hurt, though not seriously.

A Skoda and a camper van also suffered damage in the incident.

Henderson, of Hollins Lane, Sowerby Bridge, ran off but was detained by a passer-by.

The defendant, who had 58 convictions for more than 100 offences on his record, pleaded guilty to theft, aggravated vehicle taking causing injury, dangerous driving and driving while over the limit.

Judge Durham Hall said Anderson had taken advantage of the fact that man had been cleaning vehicles outside his home and had momentarily left the keys to his wife’s car unattended.

‘’At the time you were under the influence of drugs, probably, and alcohol certainly – nearly three times the permitted limit,’’ the judge told Anderson.

Appalling

After picking up two female friends Anderson set off on what the judge described as an appalling piece of dangerous driving.

‘’You reached speeds of up to 70mph in this built-up area and on the wrong side of the road you had a head-on collision with a taxi.’’

The judge said the collision had written off the taxi and the motorcycle at a cost of between £5,000 and £6,000.

‘’All those injured suffered pain, appalling shock and the taxi driver in particular neck and chest injuries,’’ the judge added.

“They were very very lucky.

“You, of course – as often is the case – were uninjured and sought to flee the scene.’’

The judge described references and letters in support of Henderson as self-pitying rather than showing self-awareness.

‘’You are a danger to the local residents, property owners and users of the road,’’ said Judge Durham Hall.

Henderson was jailed for a total of 24 months and banned from driving for four years.

He will also have to take an extended driving test at the end of his ban.