The boy took his mother’s Mercedes car for a spin, and it ended in tragedy
A man spent eight days in a coma after a 16-year-old driving his mother’s car collided with the taxi he was taking home. Michael Hanrahan had taken the keys to his mother’s white Mercedes A200 while she was asleep.
He reached speeds of up to 80mph in a 30mph zone in Ashton-under-Lyne, and later claimed another car was following him which he feared contained men armed with machetes. Hanrahan ran a red light at an intersection and collided with a taxi, causing it to spin and crash into some railings.
The passenger, a man in his twenties, spent eight days in an artificial coma after suffering a series of injuries. In the months following the horrific accident, he was unable to carry out basic tasks including washing and dressing himself, and felt “embarrassed” and “useless”.
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Hanrahan, now 19, walked out of court after pleading guilty to causing serious injury by dangerous driving. Manchester Crown Court heard that the collision happened on Oldham Road, near the junction with Newmarket Street and Wilshaw Lane, at around 11pm on Sunday 13 December 2020.
He claimed Hanrahan took his mother’s car and was being followed by another car. Prosecutor Justin Hayhoe said police later estimated he had been traveling at between 65mph and 81mph in the lead-up to the collision.
He ran a red light at an intersection and collided with a taxi, a Toyota Prius, which was driving “perfectly appropriately”. The taxi spun and crashed into some fence.
The driver escaped with minor injuries, but the back seat passenger suffered serious injuries. His list of injuries included a brain hemorrhage, fractures to his neck and pelvis, and both lungs collapsed, and he was placed in an artificial coma for eight days.
His ordeal left him with memory and speech problems. He developed a permanent limp and still has difficulty sleeping.
“He no longer recognized the man he had become,” Hayhoe said of the victim. “He feels like his life has been turned upside down, through no fault of his own.”
Hanrahan walked away from the accident and fled the scene. The court heard he turned himself in two days later after seeing social media posts about the incident.
Hanrahan told police he thought the other car was following him, and felt he had to drive that way to get away. Estelle Parkhouse, defending Hanrahan, said she was living in Liverpool at the time.
She said Hanrahan was feeling homesick and wanted to visit a sick relative so decided to return to his native Greater Manchester. She added that Hanrahan was “deeply sorry” for his behavior and had not been in further trouble since.
“He doesn’t want to live a life of crime, he actually wants to better himself,” Parkhouse said. Judge Sarah Johnston said that under the law she had to sentence Hanrahan if he were a youth, because he was 16 at the time of the crime.
She described him as a “vulnerable young adult” and said his guilt was reduced by his immaturity. “There is no sentence I can pass that can undo the damage that has been done,” the judge said.
But Judge Johnston said she was satisfied Hanrahan was remorseful and could rehabilitate himself. He was sentenced to an 18-month community order and must complete 200 hours of unpaid work and 25 rehabilitation activity requirements.
Hanrahan, of Droylsden, Tameside, was also banned from driving for two years.