Driver who fled crash scene jailed for six months

A MAN fled a scene of “utter carnage” and left three of his friends with serious injuries after crashing a car outside a petrol station.

The incident could have ended in tragedy as the out-of-control Vauxhall Corsa hurtled towards the busy garage forecourt before turning over and hitting a tree.

John McDonagh, 21, was jailed for six months yesterday over the incident which happened near the Shell garage in Leeds Ring Road, Lower Wortley on New Year’s Day this year.

Sign up to our daily newsletter

The i newsletter cut through the noise

Leeds Crown Court heard McDonagh escaped from the car and fled, leaving his three passengers to be cut free from the vehicle and needing hospital treatment for broken bones.

One suffered spinal injuries and another had a damaged spleen.

Joanne Butler-Savage, prosecuting, said McDonagh stole the keys to the courtesy car which had been loaned to his mother by an insurance company.

He then drove from the family home on the Cottingley Springs caravan park, Cottingley, with his pals, reaching speeds of 70mph in areas that had 40mph limits.

One woman was left badly shaken after McDonagh almost crashed into her as she was driving with her three children.

Miss Butler-Savage said the vehicle went out of control in front of the garage at about 3pm. It mounted the kerb and overturned before hitting the tree.

She said: “It was utter carnage. It was a complete mess with petrol leaking out of it and you couldn’t tell which was the back and which was the front.

“Had it not been for the tree it would have gone straight into the petrol station with about five people filling up at the time.”

He was arrested after his saliva was found on the driver’s airbag. McDonagh, who needed hospital treatment for a head wound, refused to comment when interviewed, claiming he could not remember anything. He pleaded guilty to aggravated vehicle taking and having no insurance.

Lindsey Lobley, mitigating, said McDonagh, had been suffering from depression after the death of his grandmother and separation of his parents.

Judge Guy Kearl QC said: “This was an extremely bad incidence of driving.”