Panicking motorist fled after hitting pedestrian in Smethwick street

A motorist who fled on foot after knocking down a pedestrian in Smethwick has been spared immediate custody.

Romanian national Robert Grozer came to this country 18 months ago, has worked hard as a construction site labourer since his arrival and was of previous good character, a judge heard.

But the 26-year-old panicked when a marked police car started following him as he drove along Wigorn Road, Bearwood, where he lives because he only had a provisional driving licence and was alone in the Ford Fiesta at 6pm on June 29, Wolverhampton Crown Court was told.

Mr Geoffrey Dann, prosecuting, said: “The police officers saw the Fiesta pick up speed when they followed him and wanted to find out why.”

A radio breakdown stopped them from getting permission to pursue the speeding car so they did not illuminate their flashing lights or sound the siren and slowed down after the swaying Fiesta narrowly avoided a parked car.

Moments later Grozer turned into St Mary’s Road and knocked down France Quirin, who was crossing the street, before hitting a parked car.

He got out of the vehicle and fled, leaving the victim lying in the road, said Mr Dann, but did not get far before the police officers detained him.

He said: “I made a mistake and regret it a lot.”

Severe bruising

Mr Quirin was taken to hospital with severe bruising to his limbs and body, the court heard.

He said later: “The car sent me somersaulting into the air and when I landed on the road I thought I had broken my spine. I looked up at the sky and thought this could be it. Now I feel lucky to be alive.”

Mr Mukhtar Ubhi, defending Grozer, said: “He is a law-abiding, hard working family man who is respectful and polite but on this occasion was scared and panicked.”

Grozer admitted dangerous driving, failing to stop after an accident and having neither insurance, a valid licence nor an MoT certificate.

Judge Rhona Campbell said: “Mr Quirin was left with bad back pain, difficulty in moving his fingers and cannot run, all because you drove a car you should not have.

“There could be no complaint if I sent you straight to prison but I can suspend the sentence because you are suitable for rehabilitation.”

Grozer received a 10-month jail term suspended for 20 months, with 240 hours unpaid work, a four-month night-time curfew, £340 costs and was banned from driving for two years.

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