A pedestrian was left blind in one eye when a hackney cab driver went through a red light and crashed into him.
Engineer Syed Hasan, 27, was crossing Market Way in Portsmouth when he was struck by Rahmin Montazeralaih’s cab, which was taking a female passenger to the Isle of Wight ferryport.
All professional drivers have a moral and social responsibility to drive with carefulness in mind at all timesActing Inspector David Sanderson
Montazeralaih’s fare said he was driving in and out of a bus lane when he struck Mr Hasan, who was sent flying down the road.
James Kellam, prosecuting, said: ‘She describes the defendant’s driving as erratic, switching out of the bus lane whenever he was blocked by a bus back into the traffic in what she regarded as a quite unnecessary hurry.
‘Halfway down Market Way there’s a refuge, a large island, and a pedestrian crossing across all six lanes of traffic.
‘Traffic is always, or very nearly always, busy in the two principal lanes and the defendant at some point before the lights switched into the bus lane, as he was perfectly able to do.’
The passenger said he was going at about 30 to 35mph, which she said was ‘too fast’ for the conditions.
Mr Kellam added: ‘The lights were red, he didn’t stop at them, he didn’t slow down.
‘As he crossed the lane he struck Mr Hasan, throwing him many yards down the road.’
Mr Hasan suffered serious head injuries, including losing the sight in one eye.
He went on to develop meningitis and, as a result of that or the injury, developed vertigo.
He also suffered leg and foot injuries. He will now have to use a white stick.
In a harrowing victim impact statement, Mr Hasan said: ‘I find myself anxious, nervous, even scared.’
He said he is worried about the effect on his children of him being fearful of crowds.
The victim said he could never read again or drive.
Sentencing, Judge Ian Pearson handed 42-year-old Montazeralaih a 12-month prison term suspended for two years.
Montazeralaih, a taxi driver for eight years but now a kitchen porter, was ordered to do 250 hours’ unpaid work and was banned from driving for four years.
He must complete an extended re-test after the ban.
At Portsmouth Crown Court the defendant claimed a Jaguar car had strayed into his lane and he was forced to accelerate and move.
Edward Hollingsworth, for Montazeralaih, said the defendant claimed to have seen the victim after the accident, standing unaided in a kebab shop and even driving a car.
Mr Hollingsworth said Montazeralaih had shown genuine remorse, had never been in trouble before and pleaded guilty at the first opportunity.
Montazeralaih, 43, of Somers Road, Somers Town, admitted causing serious injury by dangerous driving.
He had no previous convictions, the court heard. He must pay £340 costs.
Acting Inspector David Sanderson said: ‘When you get in a taxi you have every expectation to arrive at your destination safely. This driver put the life of his passenger at significant risk and, due to his recklessness, he has dramatically changed the life of the pedestrian involved and his family forever.
‘All professional drivers have a moral and social responsibility to drive with carefulness in mind at all times.
‘Carefulness costs us nothing, but carelessness can cost lives.
‘The vast majority of taxi drivers are responsible road users, but I would like to take this opportunity to remind them to continue to be respectful drivers at all times and put safety at the forefront of their driving style.’