A SOUTH Yorkshire man left unconscious with a brain injury, broken ankle and punctured lung after he was run over by a taxi driver said today: “I’m lucky to be alive.”
Martin Malia, aged 19, of Maltby, Rotherham, spoke out after cabbie Mohammed Sarfraz was jailed for 14 months after being convicted of dangerous driving, failing to report an accident and leaving the scene of a collision.
Sarfraz, of Badsley Moor Lane, Herringthorpe, was also banned from driving for three years and warned the UK Border Agency may consider deporting him.
Mr Malia and his girlfriend Kirsty Lockwood, 20, had paid their fare for the journey from Rotherham town centre to Maltby when 29-year-old Sarfraz demanded an additional fare when they arrived at Mr Malia’s house.
When the couple refused to hand over more cash the driver locked Miss Lockwood in the taxi and drove off, turning the vehicle around in the cul-de-sac and knocking her boyfriend down.
Mr Malia suffered a brain injury, broken ankle, internal injuries and punctured lung in the incident last August and needed surgery to fit plates and pins to his ankle.
He said he suffers from memory problems and still has scars from where the taxi’s tyre struck his chest.
Head injury specialists at law firm Irwin Mitchell are now looking to secure a care and rehabilitation package to help him recover from his injuries.
He is undergoing occupational therapy and physiotherapy at the Sheffield Community Brain Injury Rehabilitation Trust.
Mr Malia, who has no recollection of the incident, said: “I feel lucky to still be alive after what happened. The whole experience was terrifying and Kirsty and I have both been scarred for life - physically and emotionally.”
His girlfriend added: “We had taken the taxi home with friends and had just dropped them off, but when we arrived at Martin’s house the driver demanded we pay over the original fare, which we had already paid.
“Having done the journey in a taxi before, I knew how much we should be paying so I asked him to show me the meter, but he just plain refused.
“As I was arguing with the driver, Martin got out of the car to go into the house. The driver started to get angry, and then locked me in the car and drove off down the road.
“It was absolutely terrifying when the driver locked me in the car. I didn’t know what he was going to do.
“I then had to sit there while he ran Martin down and I could feel the bump as he drove over the top of him. I just remember thinking he’d killed my boyfriend.”
Kate Petchey, of Irwin Mitchell’s serious injury team, said: “Martin has suffered very serious injuries as a result of this incident and now has a long process of rehabilitation ahead of him.”