A driver who fled from the UK after causing a head-on collision which left two people seriously injured has been convicted by a jury in Lincoln.
Abdulla Hamza is believed to have returned to his home country of Iraq and failed to appear for his trial at Lincoln Crown Court.
The hearing went ahead without him being present and, at the end of a three day trial, the jury found him guilty of two charges of causing serious injury by dangerous driving.
Hamza, 33, formerly of Edinburgh Drive, Spalding, had denied the charges at an earlier hearing.
Recorder Paul Mann QC imposed a four-and-a-half-year jail sentence and banned him from driving for 77 months.
The collision happened on May 12 last year when Hamza overtook a line of traffic on the A16 near Surfleet. He collided head-on with a car being driven in the opposite direction by Shanny Farrow.
Ms Farrow and her then partner Mark Baker, who was a front seat passenger, were both seriously injured. They continue to use crutches to walk nearly 18 months after the collision.
Andrew Peet, prosecuting, told the jury: “This was a head-on collision on a straight, flat stretch of road between Spalding and Boston.
“It was both a catastrophic and an explosive impact. It was violent because of the speeds involved.
“The front of the car driven by the defendant was completely caved in. The people in the other car had to be cut free. It was a colossal impact on the front of their vehicle.
“Ms Farrow was driving her VW Beetle car perfectly normally in the correct carriageway.
“One of her headlights was not working properly but the fact that only one headlight was working is a bit of a red herring.
“There was at least one headlight coming towards him as he undertook what was a dangerous overtaking manouvre.
“He came upon a line of traffic travelling in the opposite direction to Ms Farrow. That line of traffic had at least one articulated lorry within it.
“There was another vehicle behind the lorry and another vehicle behind that. This defendant tried to overtake the lot in one go. This was in darkness, with the rain coming down and the spray coming from the back of the car in front of him.
“Just before he pulled out he was weaving behind the last car in the line and he was tailgating the car in front of him. The driver in front of him felt intimidated by his driving.
“He crashed head-on into the Beetle while he was on the wrong side of the road.”
The court was told that Ms Farrow suffered a serious head injury. She and Mr Baker each suffered multiple bone fractures.
Hamza later claimed the lorry driver indicated to him that he could overtake.
When he was interviewed by police he said he was unable to see anything ahead of him because it was raining heavily and he simply followed another car which successfully overtook the vehicles ahead.
Mr Peet said: “You may conclude that the manoeuvre even on the defendant’s version was dangerous.
“He said he pulled out and didn’t see the light of the oncoming car which is why we say the missing headlight is a red herring.
“He started the manoeuvre blind. Even if Ms Farrow’s vehicle had full beam on, he told the police he wouldn’t have seen that.”