Friend Killed And Three Others Suffered Severe Injuries When Lorry Crashed Into Vehicle Near Dunstable
A student is warning of the dangers of smart motorways after he was seriously injured in a crash which killed his friend.
Mohammed Bhaimia suffered several fractures and lung and liver damage in the crash on the M1 near Dunstable. It happened when a lorry driver ploughed into the back of a broken down Kia Sedona people carrier he was a passenger. At the time of the collision the hard shoulder was being used as an active lane.
The 20-year-old’s friend, Zahir Ahmed, who was also a passenger, was killed.
Three others in the Kia also suffered serious injuries, including brain injuries.
Following the collision Mohammed, who spent three weeks in hospital, instructed expert lawyers at Irwin Mitchell to help him access the specialist rehabilitation he requires to overcome his injuries. They have commenced a civil case against the lorry driver’s insurers.
Mohammed, of Haggerston, East London, has warned of the dangers of smart motorways. It comes after the lorry driver was jailed for four years and eight months.
Irwin Mitchell is also supporting Claire Mercer, whose husband Jason, 44, along with another man, died in a collision on a stretch of the M1 near Sheffield which is a smart motorway. She wants Highways England to scrap smart motorways amid safety fears and is planning on bringing a judicial review into their use.
Darshana Patel is the specialist serious injury lawyer at Irwin Mitchell representing Mohammed.
Expert Opinion“This is truly terrible incident which not only claimed the life a bright and promising man but also significantly impacted the lives of four of his friends.
“The safety of smart motorways has been called into question on a number of occasions in recent years and the number of fatalities on such routes nationally is a major cause for concern.
“While Mohammed has made good progress he still faces many challenges in his recovery. We are continuing to support Mohammed access the rehabilitation he needs and join him in urging drivers to ensure they take care on smart motorways.” Darshana Patel - Solicitor
Mohammed and his friends had been returning from representing Middlesex University in a pool tournament in Birmingham when the crash happened on the southbound M1 near junction 11a at around 3.10pm on 1 December last year. The stretch of road is classed as a Dynamic Hard Shoulder Running motorway.
After the Kia lost power the driver managed to park safely close to the hard shoulder, which was being used as an active lane, Luton Crown was told.
Moments later the vehicle re-joined the main motorway but the vehicle again lost power. It was stationary on what would have been the hard shoulder on a traditional motorway when the collision happened.
The court was told that crash investigators found the lorry driver was driving at 56 mph and had not applied the brakes until he hit the car, despite having eight to 10 seconds to do so. Other motorists had managed to drive round the stricken Kia, the court heard.
Mohammed, an accountancy student, suffered a broken right femur and two left arm fractures, one from the shoulder to elbow and the other running from his wrist to his elbow. He also suffered a broken collarbone, fractured rib as well as a bruised lung and liver.
He underwent several operations and had to catch up on his studies. Mohammed has also been forced to give up a part-time job he had at an accountancy firm.
He said: “The accident and waking up in hospital is all a blur. I don’t remember much of what happened in the first few days after the crash because I was sedated.
“The last few months and coming to terms with the physical and psychological impact of what happened has been incredibly difficult.
“I was studying hard and had an ideal job at an accountancy firm where I was gaining experience. However, because of what happened I had to give up my job and was way behind in my studies. I was determined to pass my year as I didn’t want to have to defer and lose a year. Somehow, I managed to catch up and pass which I’m really proud of.
“I just hope that by speaking out people realise how dangerous smart motorways can be. I don’t think a lot of people understand how they operate so it’s vital drivers take care at all times.
“I wouldn’t others to go through what me and my friends have.”
The lorry driver, Wojciech Bukowski, 65, from Poland, had previously admitted causing death by dangerous driving and four counts of causing serious injury.