Road Crash Victim Speaks Out After Burglar Who Drove Through Red Light Is Sentenced

Severely Injured Man Condemns Criminals Who Drove Into And Killed His 25-Year-Old Friend

24.10.2011

A West Midlands road crash victim has spoken out for the first time, following the jailing today of a burglar who drove through a red light which caused a horrific collision that left one man dead and two others with multiple injuries.

Harbhajan Singh (44) from Smethwick had been returning home with two friends on 13th June this year, when the Fiat Qubo they were travelling in was in collision with a Subaru Impreza driven by defendant Robert Maxfield, who had been fleeing the scene of a supermarket burglary.

Mr Singh and his two friends were all rushed to hospital after the horrific crash which happened on Churchbridge in Oldbury shortly after 1.00am. Tragically, Tauseef Shaukat, who had been driving the Fiat Punto, died in hospital from his injuries just two days before his 25th birthday.

At a previous hearing, Maxfield pleaded guilty to causing the death by dangerous driving of Mr Shaukat and also for the burglary of the Co-op store in Tame Road, Oldbury.

Today’s sentencing at Wolverhampton Crown Court saw Maxfield receive a indeterminate sentence for a minimum of four and a half years and has been disqualified from driving for seven years whilst two youths aged 16 and 17, who had been passengers in the Subaru and also pleaded guilty to being involved in the burglary, are still awaiting sentencing in the Youth Court.

Now, a road accident legal expert with Irwin Mitchell, who represents Mr Singh, has confirmed that a separate civil action will now proceed, despite the fact that Maxfield was also discovered by police to have been driving without insurance.

In the horrific collision, Harbhajan Singh suffered a fractured neck and, having lost consciousness at the scene, a possible concussive head injury. Four months on, he is still in a neck brace and has been unable to return to work.

Hilary Wetherell, a solicitor and road traffic legal expert with Irwin Mitchell solicitors, explained: “Whilst nothing will turn back the clock for Harbhajan who not only suffered the tragic loss of a close friend but was also left with serious injuries himself, it is important, now that criminal proceedings are concluded, that we pursue civil proceedings.

“This will hopefully provide him with the means to ensure that he can access appropriate care and any specialist rehabilitation that he may need as a result of the horrific injuries he sustained. Additionally, since he has been left unable to work since the accident, it will provide some degree of financial security. “

In situations such as this, where the defendant driver was not insured, the Motor Insurers Bureau, which is a fund set up by the motor insurance industry, is able to provide compensation to the innocent victims of road traffic collisions. We will now be working with the MIB’s solicitors to hopefully agree a settlement which will provide financial recompense for Harbhajan’s injuries.”

Commenting on today’s sentencing, Mr Singh said: “Although justice has been done today, nothing will bring back my friend Tauseef and my heart goes out to his family.

“What happened that night is still a blur. It has been very hard trying to cope with what happened and the aftermath of the collision. The actions of that criminal who showed a total disregard both for the law and for other motorists that evening, will live with me and Tauseef’s family for the rest of our lives. I hope any other driver who is ever tempted to jump a red light, will think very carefully and learn lessons from what happened.”