A CONVICTED killer caused the death of his friend when he crashed a car as he tried to outrun police while out of prison on licence for manslaughter.
Dominic Croasdale, 24, was jailed for eight years yesterday over the death of boyhood friend Shamari Saws.
Croasdale, who had cocaine in his system, slammed his Vauxhall Astra head on into a taxi as he drove on the wrong side of the road.
Taxi driver Mohammed Saddiq was left in a critical condition and is still wheelchair-bound following the incident on Burley Road on September 1 last year.
The vehicle then ploughed into a building, narrowly missing a young couple who were walking along the pavement in the early hours of the morning.
Mr Saws, who was in the front passenger seat, suffered major chest and stomach injuries and died shortly after the crash.
One of Croasdale’s back seat passengers had to have his thumb amputated after the incident.
Leeds Crown Court heard Croasdale’s car insurance was invalid at the time as had he had lied about his age, claiming he was ten years older than he was.
Nigel Wray, prosecuting, said police officers put on their blue lights and indicated for Croasdale to stop when he performed a dangerous manoeuvre at the junction of Burley Road and Cardigan Road.
Croasdale instead drove off towards Leeds city centre. Officers chose not pursue him due to the risk they felt it posed to the public.
They continued along the road at a safe speed but came across the crash scene moments later.
There were gasps in the public gallery as the court was shown CCTV footage of the moment of impact.
Mr Wray said taxi driver Mr Saddiq could not recall the incident and did not regain consciousness until ten days later.
He suffered two broken legs and needed surgery after suffering internal injuries.
Croasdale, of Lincoln Green Court, Leeds, was also badly injured. He refused to comment during interview after his arrest.
He later pleaded guilty to causing death by dangerous driving.
Croasdale was jailed for four-and-a-half years in December 2010 after being found guilty of the manslaughter of 22-year-old Thomas Ball, from Beeston.
Croasdale struck the young father with a single fatal punch which tore an artery in his neck during the incident at a flat at Headingley Halls, Headingley Lane, Leeds.
He was out on licence at the time of the crash but recalled to prison to serve the remainder of the sentence after being arrested.
Phillip Morris, mitigating, said Croasdale had been friends with Mr Saws since primary school and he was full of sorrow and shame for what he had done.
Mr Morris said Croasdale once had a bright future as a rugby union player until he was badly injured playing in an under 19s game for England against Wales.
The barrister added: “Thereafter the signs of frustration, anguish and boredom led him to the periphery of anti-social behaviour.
Jailing Croasdale, judge James Spencer, QC, said the driving offence was made much worse by the fact the he was already responsible for a man’s death.
He said: “You concern at that time was for yourself and for no one else’s.
“You drove with one purpose only and that was to escape the police.”
After the hearing, Det Chief Inspector Adrian Taylor, from West Yorkshire Police Protective Services (Crime), said: “Dominic Croasdale’s decision to drive dangerously to avoid being stopped by the police that night resulted in the death of his friend Shamari Saws and caused very serious and life-changing injuries to others.
“Shamari’s family has been left completely devastated by his death. The other families involved have themselves been through a very traumatic time.
“This incident once again illustrates the appallingly tragic consequences that can result from dangerous driving. We hope that, even in some small way, it will help to remind other drivers about the terrible and lasting impact their actions behind the wheel can have on the lives of others and on themselves.”