Student dragged 200m under car in Halloween horror smash

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A STUDENT was dragged almost 200 metres along the road under a car in a Hallowe’en horror smash.

James Slesser suffered a fractured skull, neck injuries and brain damage when Nissan worker Stephen Passey’s Renault Clio ploughed into him.

The 20-year-old journalism undergraduate was left in a critical condition and needed multiple operations, including brain surgery and plastic surgery.

Mr Slesser was initially unable to speak or swallow because of his injuries, and while it is hoped he will eventually achieve independent living in future, he has a “long way to go”.

At Newcastle Crown Court yesterday Passey, 21, who admitted careless driving, dangerous driving, failing to stop after an accident and driving while over the limit, was jailed for 10 months and banned for three years.

Judge Penny Moreland said: “The consequences of the events of that night were devastating for Mr Slesser and his family.

“His education, relationships and opportunities in life have been severely compromised.”

The court heard Passey, of Rayleigh Drive, Wideopen, had been drinking in Newcastle after finishing his shift at the Washington car factory on October 31. In the early hours of the following morning, he was driving pals home along the Great North Road in Newcastle, when he struck Mr Slesser.

Prosecutor Nick Dry said it has been accepted Passey had “little opportunity” to avoid Mr Slesser walking out in front of his vehicle, although he was not paying sufficient attention.

But he added: “At this point, immediately after impact, passengers in the defendant’s car were screaming for him to stop, shouting that he had hit someone.

“Instead of stopping, the evidence suggests, after initial braking which caused Mr Slesser to fall to the ground, the defendant continued to drive, dragging the body which became entangled under the vehicle for a further 187 metres, passing through traffic lights showing red against him and with limited vision through the shattered windscreen of his vehicle.”

When he got home, Passey put a brick on the windscreen to give the impression that had caused the damage.

Andrew Rutter, defending, said Passey is ordinarily “hard working, law abiding and decent”, adding: “He made the most terrible error of judgment, one he will regret forever.”