Pair jailed after high-speed 'race' crash left woman brain damaged
Two drivers who weaved and raced each other at speeds of up to 130mph left a mother-of-two with brain damage after crashing into her car, a court heard.
Mechanic Lee Round and takeaway owner Bashir Ahmadzai were both jailed after admitting causing serious injury while driving dangerously for nearly a mile along a residential street last year.
As Ahmadzai raced his Volkswagen Golf ahead of Round's blue Audi like a "Formula One" car, he smashed into the side of driving instructor Kathrin Davies, 51, as she pulled out of a junction.
Judge Richard Bond looked at photographs of Miss Davies's mangled Peugeot car and told the pair during sentencing at Birmingham Crown Court on Tuesday that he was "amazed" Miss Davies had lived, describing it as "a minor miracle".
Miss Davies spent three weeks in a coma with a bleed on the brain, and she broke her back, pelvis and legs. She was unable to leave hospital for five months.
In a statement read to court, Miss Davies, who attended the hearing with her daughter, said she was no longer a "fiercely independent woman", and her personality had changed.
The former driving instructor said she was unable to get behind the wheel and had to give up her hobby re-upholstering furniture.
Miss Davies said she suffered physical, mental and emotional trauma and lost three months of her memory, including the days surrounding the crash.
She added: "Everyday things like using a knife and fork and having a shower take a lot longer."
Doctors told her that complications from what the judge called her "dreadful injuries" meant that her life expectancy may also be shorter.
Opening the case for the prosecution, Aliya Rashid said it was about 8.30pm on November 13 when witnesses spotted first Ahmadzai, 22, and then Round, 26, driving "at excessive speed" along Bristol Road South, Birmingham.
Another driver William Bowen watched as Ahmadzai's Golf "shot past", undertaking him and his wife before cutting back and causing Mr Bowen to "brake sharply".
Ms Rashid added: "The Golf moved back into the inside lane, undertook another car in front and moved into the offside lane, weaving in and out."
They noticed Round's Audi follow, undertaking their car, with Mr Bowen describing the drivers as "racing" along the road.
Witness Lynne Wallis said she heard "the same kind of noise as Formula One cars make when they race" as the cars went by her in a "blur".
The noise was so loud, a police officer working in nearby Bournville Lane police station heard the engines as the men raced past and said he heard "no sounds of engines decelerating or skidding or braking".
Moped rider Alexander Masialik said Ahmadzai's car "appeared to be doing 130mph" as he spotted the Audi and the Golf behind him, "bumper to bumper".
Mr Masialik said as the Golf overtook him it "blew him sideways", as the speed was so great. He then saw Miss Davies's car pull out of a side road into the racers' path.
Ms Rashid said: "Despite the Golf breaking sharply, it could not avoid crashing into the Peugeot."
Round's Audi, following close behind, went straight into the Golf, with all three cars left wrecked.
At the scene, father-of-one Round got out of his car and told witnesses: "Look, I've got kids, don't tell them how fast I was driving."
The court heard neither Ahmadzai nor Round had valid insurance at the time of the crash, although both their companies will be paying out as a result of the smash.
Ahmadzai, of Rotten Park Road, Edgbaston, and Round, of Larks Close, Kings Heath, both Birmingham, later expressed "genuine remorse" for what the judge called their "disgraceful" driving.
Sentencing Ahmadzai to two years in prison, the judge told him: "Your actions have forever changed the lives of Miss Davies and her family."
Handing Round a 20-month jail term, the judge said: "Without your actions that night, this incident would never have occurred."
Both men were also disqualified from driving for two years.
The judge told Miss Davies after sentencing: "It's very nice to see you in this court. What you've done is a very brave act."
Afterwards, Miss Davies's lawyer Richard Langton, of Slater and Gordon, said: "All too often lives are lost or changed forever because of motorists who speed on the roads.
"Kathrin was lucky to survive, but she still faces a long rehabilitation.
"We welcome today's sentences and hope they act as a deterrent to others who might drive irresponsibly when they get behind the wheel."