“Drunk” driver jailed after hit-and-run crash with young woman

editorial image

A “drunk” driver involved in a hit-and-run in Halifax has been jailed after CCTV footage of the early morning collision was shown in court.

Pedestrian Sophie Shaw, 20, was badly injured when she was struck by a Citroen Picasso vehicle in the Cow Green area of the town last July and police released images from the CCTV in a bid to track down the driver who left the scene.

A court heard that 29-year-old Aaron Swift had been at the wheel of the car which was later found burnt out.

Prosecutor Clare Walsh revealed that a few days after the collision Swift contacted the complainant via Facebook and sent her a message of apology.

He was arrested after anonymous tip-offs to the police and he admitted that he had been drunk at the time of the collision.

Bradford Crown Court heard that Swift, of Whiteley Avenue, Sowerby Bridge, had been given a suspended sentence back in 2007 for dangerous driving and other offences.

Swift should have been sentenced last month but he failed to turn up at court and a warrant had to be issued for his arrest.

Barrister Stephen Wood, for Swift, said he had not come to court because he was fearful of the consequences.

Mrs Walsh said the complainant had suffered ligament damage to her leg as well as broken teeth and facial injuries.

She said Miss Shaw had suffered pain when eating and drinking and had to use a wheelchair on some occasions after the collision.

Swift admitted offences of dangerous driving, driving without insurance, driving otherwise than in accordance with a licence, failing to stop after an accident and failing to report an accident.

Jailing him for a total of 54 weeks Judge Peter Hunt said it was a bad offence of its type because a young woman had been badly injured.

He said Swift had been drinking vodka and taking cannabis and had not been in a fit state to drive at all.

“It was an horrific accident for anyone to have to witness,” said Judge Hunt.

“She was propelled onto the bonnet of your car and thrown back into the road.”

The offence of dangerous driving carries a maximum sentence of two years in jail, but Judge Hunt said the sentence could be reduced because of Swift’s remorse and admission of guilt straight away.

Swift was jailed for a year on the dangerous driving charge with an extra two weeks in custody for breaching his bail.

He was also banned from driving for a total of 79 weeks and ordered to take an extended driving test.