A Leeds taxi driver has admitted to driving without due care and attention when he hit a student last January, inflicting ‘catastrophic’ injuries.
Edward Buckley, who was training to be commercial airline pilot, was struck by Rizwan Ali as he walked home on 21 January last year. Ali, 29, was judged to have been driving too fast to stop when he collided with the student near Hyde Park Corner.
In his trial at Leeds Magistrates’ Court, Ali was found guilty of driving without insurance and plying for hire in a private vehicle. He had earlier pleaded guilty to driving without due care and attention. Buckley, now 21, suffered multiple fractures and severe head injuries, leaving him in a coma for several weeks. His injuries were deemed so severe, medics were initially unsure as to whether he would live.
However, Buckley received swift treatment from Leeds’ neurological intensive care unit, where doctors were able to save his life. After the accident, Buckley was informed of the extent of his injuries, with doctors telling him he would never be able to walk or talk again.
However, after undergoing a period of intense rehabilitation, Buckley has shown significant signs of improvement to his health, being able to walk and talk to his family 10 months after the accident. Although working as a private hire taxi driver and having a pre-booked fare, Ali picked up four university students near Bed nightclub. He denied willingly picking up the students and accused them of getting into his taxi uninvited.
The students, however, claimed that a £7 fare to Lupton flats in Headingley had been agreed. Ali was sentenced at Leeds Magistrates’ Court on 23 January. An early guilty plea was taken into consideration, with Ali receiving nine penalty points on his driving license. He was also ordered to pay a fine of £255.
Words: Beatrix Passmore