Dramatic footage shows the moment Sunderland rogue driver smashes head-on into taxi leaving cabbie with serious injuries
A hungry learner-driver caused a head-on smash that put a cabbie out of work when he stole his pal's courtesy car to get food after a night out.
George Blair had gone back to a friend's house after a night out socialising and got behind the wheel of the BMW, without permission, in the early hours of the morning because he wanted to eat.
Newcastle Crown Court heard the 23-year-old smashed the vehicle, which was on loan to his pal while his was being repaired, into a Dacia taxi, which had been bought by driver Alal Huda just two weeks before, and left him unable to work for four months.
Footage of the collision, which happened as the cabbie was making his way home on the A690 Durham Road after a shift on October 26 and was with "some considerable force" was played at the hearing.
Prosecutor Paul Cross told the court: "The driver was unable to get out of this car because of injury to his leg.
"His leg was broken, his ankle was broken."
The court heard the cabbie needed surgery to his leg, which had three fractures, and had fragments of glass removed for his head.
He said in a victim statement he has been left with mounting debts and added: "Due to my injuries I can't work and pay this debt and provide for my family.
"All because someone's stupidity has ruined my life."
The court heard the taxi driver was unable to work for three to four months as a result of his leg injury.
Mr Cross said Blair was almost twice the drink-drive limit and added: "It was in the early hours of the morning the defendant took that car.
"He was later to tell police it was to go and purchase food.
"He was over the drink drive limit.
"He was a provisional licence holder with no supervising driver.
"He had no insurance."
Blair, of Dellfield Drive, Pennywell, Sunderland, admitted aggravated vehicle taking, driving while over the limit, having no licence and no insurance.
Mr Recorder Nathan Adams sentenced him to eight months imprisonment, suspended for 12 months, with 175 hours unpaid work and a two-year road ban.
The judge told him: "Having been out drinking with friends you returned to one of their properties and you decided shortly after that you were hungry and you would therefore go out and find food.
"It was quite clear, and would have been clear to you, you were significantly over the limit.
"You decided to drive and took the vehicle in possession of your friend without permission.
"At the time you were still twice the limit for driving and as a result of the alcohol or reckless behaviour on your part you lost control of the vehicle.
"You crossed onto the wrong carriageway and you hit, head first, a taxi driver coming in the opposite direction.
"It was only by absolute luck, it is clear from the footage, you were not killed, or anyone else who was nearby.
"It was fortunate the injuries were not fatal."
The judge said it was "just" possible to suspend the sentence as Blair has a realistic prospect of rehabilitation and no previous convictions.
Helen Towers, defending, said: "This was a moment of stupidity that has had such an impact on someone's life."
Miss Towers said Blair, who had references to his ordinarily positive character, works full time and is a "caring character" and added: "This has been a moment of madness."