Driver broke man’s spine dragging him under car

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BEDRIDDEN with a catalogue of catastrophic injuries, this is the aftermath of the collision which left parents fearing their son would lose his life.

Mark Wallace had been heading home from a friend’s house after a sports night at Silksworth Workingmen’s Club when he was knocked down by a car driven by Dean Coates.

The 23-year-old was reversed over and dragged 13 metres beneath the car until it stopped, wedging him against the back wheels.

The ordeal left the former Farringdon School pupil with three fractures to his spine, wounds which needed more than 100 stitches and skin grafts to his left arm and right shoulder and split knees.

Mark, of Quarry Road, Silksworth, spent two months immobilised in a brace and has been left with a limp because of the damage to his legs.

Today, Dean Coates, 24, of Powis Road, Plains Farm, is beginning a 16-month jail term after admitting causing grievous bodily harm at Newcastle Crown Court.

Prosecutors said they accepted Coates did not realise Mark was trapped under the Renault Clio when he drove off after the pair came across each other in Lincoln Avenue in the early hours of August 6, 2010.

The court, which heard the pair shared a grudge, was told Mark threw a rock through the back window of the car just moments before he was struck.

Mark’s mother Denise, 58, a domestic at Beckwith Mews, who is also mum to Michael, 30, and married to Dennis, 60, said: “It was terrible seeing my son like that. At first I thought we had lost him.

“He said to me ‘Mam, I’m not going to make it’ and I just went to my knees and screamed.

“My two lads are my life and the fact is there are mothers like me out there who will understand they can’t be with their boys 24/7.

“We’ve not been able to close the book, and that’s what we want, and we want to make people aware of what his lad has done.”

Mark had loved his agency job on the production line at Tacle in Houghton, which makes seats for Nissan, and is desperate to return to work, but has been forced to give up his role as he continues to recover.

He had been due to sign a permanent contract when he was admitted to hospital for more corrective surgery on one of his knees, and has also had to give up his hobby of riding scrambler bikes.

The psychological impact has also led him to lead an almost reclusive life and now devotes his time to dog Isis.

The court was told it was accepted Coates had reversed into Mark while trying to get out of the street, which he wrongly believed was a dead end.

Travelling at 10mph, the incident would have lasted 2.9 seconds.

Judge Paul Sloan QC said the case was too serious for anything other than an immediate custody and jailed Coates.

Gary Anderson, 20, of Turnham Road, Thorney Close, admitted assisting an offender by moving the bloodstained and damaged car. He was sentenced to a community order with 150 hours unpaid work and £1,000 costs.

Twitter: @EchoEastDurham