Drink driver killed when taxi crashed into fence in Walsall

A radio operator for a taxi firm was speeding and was more than twice the drink and drive limit when the private hire car left the road and struck a fence, his inquest heard.

The scene of the crash
The scene of the crash

Banned driver Mohammed Imran Rashid died of head injuries in the crash which happened on a bridge, in Wednesbury Road, Pleck, in Walsall, on June 12 last year, the hearing was told.

The married father of three was at the wheel of a grey Toyota Avensis estate taken without permission from taxi firm 24/7 Cars, where he worked as a radio despatch controller, when it struck the kerb, mounted the pavement hit a metal fence on the bend near the junction with Bescot Crescent shortly before 4.43am.

West Midlands Police forensic collision investigator Pc Paul Robbins told yesterday’s hearing at Smethwick Council House that Mr Rashid had not been wearing a seatbelt.

He said two closed circuit street cameras had captured the vehicle’s approach from the Corporation Street junction. He said calculations based on the camera timings show that the taxi was being driven at about 53mph in a 30mph residential street.

He said tests showed that Mr Rashid, aged 37, of Arundel Street, Palfrey, had 186 milligrammes of alcohol in his system. The limit is 80.

There was also evidence of take away food in the car.

Pc Robbins said: “The effects of that are significant. It would have given him a false sense of confidence, reduced co-ordination, slowed reactions and it would have affected his judgement.”

He told the hearing that the cameras showed the car being driven with one headlight through the red lights at Corporation Street, it slowed in the yellow junction box before carrying on towards the direction of Darlaston.

Giving evidence Shazad Ali, owner of 24/7 Cars based, in Watery Lane, Willenhall, told the hearing Mr Rashid, also known as Imran Khan was working the 6pm to 6am shift and he left him at the office at 10pm the previous night.

Senior Black Country Coroner Robin Balmain put to Mr Ali: “This is not in any way a criticism, but was there any question of him having alcohol?”

Mr Ali replied: “No. Drinking whilst on duty is strictly forbidden. If I had any inkling he would have been sent home.”

Mr Rashid’s brother Shabir told the coroner that he was not a heavy drinker, but would have cans of lager.

Mr Balmain said the cause of death was fatal a head injury, skull fracture due to a blunt impact to his head.

He recorded that death was due to a road traffic collision.

“The circumstances are very clear. It looks like Mr Rashid possibly went to get some food and for some reason was driving quickly, probably because he wanted to get back quickly to his place of work.”

“The combination of speed and alcohol is not a good one. He appears to have lost control and crashed,” Mr Balmain said.