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Driver fled in panic after hitting pedestrian

PUBLISHED: 06:53 03 February 2010 | UPDATED: 07:53 02 July 2010

Peter Walsh

A 20-year-old driver who hit a pedestrian on Christmas Day failed to report the accident after getting in a "panic" and remembering a crash in which a close friend died, a court has heard.

A 20-year-old driver who hit a pedestrian on Christmas Day failed to report the accident after getting in a “panic” and remembering a crash in which a close friend died, a court has heard.

Andrew Russen, of Oak Avenue, Thorpe St Andrew, near Norwich, appeared at Norwich Magistrates' Court yesterday after being charged with failing to stop or give details following the accident in Prince of Wales Road on Friday, December 25, 2009.

Denis King, prosecuting, said Russen, who pleaded guilty at an earlier hearing, had driven his Peugeot into the city at 2.30am to pick up some friends when he hit the pedestrian.

When interviewed the next day, Russen, who only passed his driving test last July, told police he had tried to contact the emergency services, and that a friend of his had been killed in an accident a couple of years before.

The court heard the pedestrian declined treatment, got out of the ambulance, and made his own way home.

Debbie Reynolds, mitigating, said her client was a man of previous good character who pleaded guilty at the first chance and who had made a “straightforward mistake”.

She said Russen had been at home with his family on Christmas Eve, had not been drinking alcohol, and had not intended to go out.

Ms Reynolds said her client was at the pedestrian crossing near Budgens in Prince of Wales Road where he was faced with about 20 taxis partly parked on the pavement and partly on the road.

She said: “A pedestrian walked out from between two black taxis in front of his vehicle. He did an emergency stop but clipped the knee of the pedestrian.”

She said Russen checked the pedestrian before driving to Kwik Fit, where he pulled over. She said he walked a few steps to the Compleat Angler pub and called the emergency services on his mobile to report the accident but his phone went dead.

She added: “Panic overtook him completely - he had a close friend who died in a road traffic accident two years ago when he was present and this brought it all flooding back.

“He walked home from Prince of Wales Road and didn't get home until about 6am.”

She said Russen called police the next morning, walked back into the city and made a “full and frank admission” at the station.

Geoff Evans, chair of the bench, fined Russen £250 which was reduced to £160 following his early guilty plea, and ordered him to pay £85 costs. He was also given five penalty points.

Are you recovering after a road crash? Call reporter Peter Walsh on 01603 772436 or email peter.walsh@archant.co.uk

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