Court hears of hit-and-run horror

A CALLOUS motorist hit a teenage partygoer and dragged him along on the bonnet of his car before driving off and leaving his lifeless body strewn in the middle of a road, a court has heard.

A CALLOUS motorist hit a teenage partygoer and dragged him along on the bonnet of his car before driving off and leaving his lifeless body strewn in the middle of a road, a court has heard.

Lewis Smith, 19, suffered life-threatening injuries and broke both his legs after he was hit by a car driven by Portugese national Carlos Teixeirabarbosa while walking home with a group of friends following a party.

Mr Smith's legs were thrown up in the air, his body landed on the bonnet and his head made impact with the car windscreen causing it to shatter.

Magistrates yesterday heard that Teixeirabarbosa “carried” the injured teenager on the bonnet for several yards before driving off in “panic” as Mr Smith lay prone in the road.

The defendant, who was on his way home from work in Thetford, then paid out for a new windscreen just hours after the collision in the early hours of October 9 on the A143 in Barnardiston.

Teixeirabarbosa, 31, of Russett Close, Haverhill, pleaded guilty to failing to stop after the accident and failing to give his name and address when he appeared before Bury St Edmunds magistrates.

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The court ordered further reports to be prepared, but warned the defendant “all options” would be left open when sentencing.

Ian Devine, prosecuting, said that on the night in question, Lewis, also of Haverhill, was “fairly intoxicated” after a party with friends.

The group, consisting of about eight people, then decided to walk home after their attempts to get a taxi failed.

At one stage they were stopped by the police as they walked on unlit roads while a taxi driver also said that the group had attempted to stop his vehicle in a bid to get a lift home prior to the accident.

Mr Devine said: “As the defendant was driving home from work, he came across the group and Mr Smith was walking in the middle of the road about one metre from the grass verge.

“Other members of the group had shouted warnings when they saw the car lights but Mr Smith was struck by the front nearside of the defendant's car.

“Both his legs were thrown in the air causing him to land on the bonnet and his head and shoulder smashed the windscreen.

“He was carried a number of yards before being thrown from the car on the roadside.”

As Teixeirabarbosa drove on, Mr Smith was left in the middle of the road bleeding heavily from various wounds to his head and arms. He also broke both his legs.

Mr Devine added: “The defendant had a mobile phone in his car but he didn't contact the police or any other emergency services.

“The next day he went into Haverhill but avoided the police station. If that was not bad enough, he returned home and arranged for his windscreen to be replaced.

“There is no suggestion that his driving was at fault. But as far as he was concerned, he had left Mr Smith in the middle of the road suffering from serious injuries.”

Doctors placed Mr Smith, who had served in the army, in an induced coma in a bid to stem the severe pressure on his brain and at one stage they were unable to give the teenager's distraught family any assurances about his chances of survival.

But the victim fought back against potential brain damage and returned to his family home before Christmas.

The court heard that Teixeirabarbosa was later arrested by police and admitted his involvement in the crash while in custody.

Guy Holland, defending, said: “The accident happened totally out of the blue and my client panicked and drove on.

“Suddenly once he had done that, he didn't have the strength of character to front up to what he had done and make amends.”

The case was adjourned until February 22 at Bury St Edmunds Magistrates Court.

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