Jail for Commonside crash driver

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A driver has been jailed for two years after his driving caused a crash in Hanging Heaton, which devastated the lives of two of his passengers, leaving one with brain damage and the other seriously injured.

Leeds Crown Court heard Joseph Wallis, 22 of Batley Road, Tingley, was going too fast when he lost control of his Seat Ibiza in Commonside and it struck a parked car and a wall before spinning and ending up on its roof on June 3 last year.

His girlfriend, Lameeyaa Mellali, 16, who was the front seat passenger suffered injuries which left her in a coma for eight weeks.

At one point doctors considered withdrawing treatment and her family was warned to expect the worst but she survived, Richard Walters prosecuting told the court.

The bubbly teenager has no recollection of the six months leading up to the crash, she is now learning to walk again and has restricted movement in her left leg, tremors in her right arm and her eyesight has been affected.

Academically bright and speaking five languages she had hoped to be an air hostess but it is now not known if she will ever be capable of independent living.

Mr Walters told the court her mother described the months since the crash as “hell” and heartbreaking to see her daughter having lost everything.

Also injured in the crash was Natalie Soar, from Pudsey, a rear seat passenger who with Matthew Willis was being given a lift by Wallis after they had been at the same barbecue.

She managed to crawl from the vehicle but suffered a fractured pelvis, broken arm, ruptured liver, punctured lung and broken ribs. She was in hospital 15 days, spent two months using a wheelchair and two months on crutches.

Mr Walters said Miss Soar had spent six years working for a racehorse trainer and had just signed papers to become a jockey but had to leave her job because of the pain she was still suffering from her injuries and was unlikely now to ever achieve her ambition.

Wallis admitted two charges of causing serious injury by dangerous driving. In addition to the jail term he was banned from driving for three years and ordered to take an extended retest.

Sentencing him Judge Christopher Batty said Wallis’s driving had attracted the attention of other road users who thought he was travelling faster than it was safe to do as he approached Commonside and in the road itself.

One motorist said he was almost on two wheels as it took a corner and Wallis himself accepted he was doing 40mph in the 30 limit.

The judge said he failed to heed the warning to himself to slow down and the plea from Miss Soar to do so just before the collision. “It should have been clear to anyone you were driving dangerously fast and unable to control the vehicle because you nearly lost control on more than one occasion prior to the collision.”

He said there had to be an immediate jail term. “The harm you have caused is almost immeasurable, two young lives ruined by your actions.”

Joseph Wynn representing Wallis said he had never been in trouble before and accepted he had been reckless and stupid on the day concerned. “He feels an enormous sense of remorse.”

The collision had not only shattered the life of his girlfriend but the future they were planning together.