"it was such a stupid decision, the worst decision he has ever made."
Leicester Magistrates’ Court heard that after a teenager crashed an uninsured car, he left his “gravely injured” friend in the middle of the road.
Zaheer Patel, aged 18, from Humberstone, Leicestershire, picked up a friend at 3:30 am on December 5, 2018, after messaging her to see if she wanted to go for a drive.
Patel, who has not passed his driving test, was driving a Peugeot 206 that he shared with friends.
He was on Thurncourt Road, about one mile from his home when he crashed. He went onto a kerb and into a telegraph pole, the car rolled several times before coming to a stop on its roof.
The girl, who was not wearing a seatbelt, was flung out of the boot of the car and left in the road.
The prosecutor Sally Bedford said the teenager ran off after the crash.
An hour-and-a-half later, he turned up at her house to apologise to her parents, who had already been contacted by police.
Mrs Bedford said: “He turned up and said he was there to apologise.
“He told them ‘it was all my fault’ and said he accepted responsibility.”
The victim told police that she remembered being in the car for a few minutes before being surrounded by paramedics.
The girl suffered a bleed on the brain, broken jaw which required a metal plate, a broken arm which had to be pinned and plated, stitches in her arm, two broken ribs, a burst lung and multiples cuts and bruises all over her body.
She spent four weeks in hospital and is still continuing her recovery.
Paul Tubb, defending Patel said: “He said to me ‘I’ve hurt a lot of people, my friend and her family, I feel for what they are going through. And my family too.
“He can’t recount why he decided on that day he asked her to go for a drive, he said it was cold and wet and they were going to sit in the car and talk.
“He told me he is constantly questioning why he did what he did and that he loses sleep thinking about what happened.
“He said it was such a stupid decision, the worst decision he has ever made.
“He is very remorseful and sorry for what he did.”
Mr Tubb added that the teenager waited with the victim and covered her with a coat to keep her warm until the emergency services arrived before leaving the scene.
Patel then “panicked” before explaining what had happened to his family and her parents. He then went to the police station to confess.
Mrs Bedford believed that the car involved was a “ringer” – a cheap car purchased by a group of young people to share and drive around.
The teenager pleaded guilty to leaving the scene of an accident, driving with no insurance and driving without due care and attention.
The chairperson of the magistrates’ bench said:
“You’re going to have to live with this for the rest of your life and it’s a very large learning point that you’ve got to stay with you.”
“Mr Tubb said you told him that it was the worst decision of your life, I think the worst decision you ever made was getting involved with that car in the first place.
“I suspect whatever we say to you, you’ve heard before and probably worse from your parents, but here you are and we have to decide what to do with you.
“Failing to stop is the most serious charge and although we accept you stayed with this young woman until paramedics arrived, you then left.
“You had no idea whether she would survive or not.
“We were toying with prison, you were on the cusp of going to prison, but instead we have decided on a community order.”
Zaheer Patel received a 12-month community order and was sentenced to carry out 200 hours of unpaid work. It will start after he has completed his A-Level exams.
The Leicester Mercury reported that Patel’s licence, which is a provisional, will be endorsed for having no insurance.
He was also fined £120 for driving without due care and attention. Patel was also ordered to pay an £85 victim surcharge and £85 costs.
The victim was not awarded compensation as there is an ongoing civil case.