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Driver spared jail 'by the skin of your teeth' after smashing into cyclist and fleeing the scene

An unlicensed and uninsured driver who fled after mowing down a biker has been warned he could have killed.

By Gareth Crickmer
Tuesday, 9th February 2021, 7:20 am

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Brandon Tate, 23, inflicted life-changing injuries on a married dad in a smash on a bend at West Pastures, Washington, near Testos roundabout.

Tate, of Bramham Court, South Shields, drove off but reappeared minutes later on foot to ask after his seriously hurt victim, a court heard.

But he again left the scene and did not call for help and instead sent back his step-sister and her two children.

West Pastures, near where the collision happened.

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They had been passengers in his borrowed Peugeot when it crashed at 4.45pm on Tuesday, June 16.

The distraught woman also inquired after the crash victim but did not dial 999 for 15 minutes, in part for fear of implicating Tate, it was said.

Paramedics found him lying bloodied in the road with damage to an arterial vein and foot and leg injuries from Tate’s bumper slamming into his bike head-on.

South Tyneside Magistrates’ Court was told the man was hospitalised for 12 days and now struggles to look after his children.

In sentencing Tate to an 18-month community order and 250 hours of unpaid work, District Judge Kathryn Meek told him he had avoided jail “by the skin of your teeth”.

She added: “You leave for your own reasons, your own cowardly reasons.

“There’s so many things that you have done wrong here, and I don’t mean bad decisions, criminally wrong. It must have been clear to you there were significant injuries.

“You panicked and you panicked because you knew you shouldn’t have been driving the car, you knew you shouldn’t have been in the car.

“You went off, leaving the injured person and two young children and your step-sister at the scene, having to deal with it.

“Your step-sister was, presumably, torn about how to deal with the situation. You are so lucky this wasn’t worse.”

Prosecutor Grace Taylor said the victim had seen Tate’s car over the top of a hedge approaching fast and had slowed, fearing an accident.

She said: “He decided to hold back and not take the bend. The Peugeot came around the bend on the wrong side of the road and collided with him.

“The first contact was the front bumper, which hit his knee, and the wheel hit his foot.

“He was ejected from the bike, and came to rest on the other side of the road. The Peugeot was nowhere to be seen.

“He was crawling along and he saw the defendant walking, and he asked if he was alright. [The victim] said that he needed an ambulance.

“He said he then heard the sound of car wheels screeching. He then saw a woman and two children.”

David Forrester, defending, said Tate had no previous convictions and was genuinely remorseful.

He said Tate had phoned a solicitor 20 minutes later to ask him to contact the police on his behalf, and that a breath test had proved negative.

Tate pleaded guilty to failing to stop after an accident, driving without insurance and driving without a licence.

Under the community order, he must also complete 15 days of rehabilitation work with the Probation Service.

He was banned from driving for 18 months, and must pay a £95 victim surcharge and £85 court costs.

Judge Meek said the victim must be compensated but that her hands were tied due to other possible compensatory processes.

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