Family's message to speeding drivers after Leeds Rhinos fan is killed in crash on Dewsbury Road in Tingley
The family of a Leeds man who "looked upon life as a gift" despite his disability have paid tribute to him after his killer was jailed for dangerous driving.
James Edward Cromack died after he was hit by a speeding driver on Dewsbury Road in Tingley.
Today (Monday) Batley man Abdullah Mota, 20, of Conway Crescent, started a jail sentence of three years and six months after admitting causing death by dangerous driving.
Mota was doing 60mph in a 40mph zone when he struck Mr Cromack at the junction with Syke Road on February 23 last year.
Mr Cromack died in hospital two days later.
The 40-year-old, from Morley, had cerebral palsy but refused to let the condition define him - he captained his local snooker team, liked sport and was a Leeds Rhinos fan.
His family are backing a West Yorkshire Police campaign warning motorists about the dangers they put themselves, other road users and pedestrians in when they speed.
In a statement issued through the Force, Mr Cromack's family said: "James was not just a brother, son or uncle, he was a best friend.
"James looked upon life as a gift that should be enjoyed.
“Despite the pain and other problems that his disability gave him, James never let it hold him back or get him down.
His family said he "would always bring positivity and hope, if you were feeling low, he could always lift you up".
They added: “To have had someone so bright and inspirational and then suddenly have them taken away is almost beyond words.
"Without James there is a hole in our lives, a feeling of emptiness, sorrow, loss and grief.
"A part of us has gone and our world will be forever a sadder, duller world.
“Despite this, James would have wanted some hope to come of this horror, he donated his organs so others could treasure life like he did.
“We would like to thank the nurses who stopped, treated and stayed with James, it is a comfort to know he was not alone and was being cared for.
"We would also like to thank the police, who did an extensive thorough investigation and have brought us some closure and justice.
"We would also like to thank all of those who came forward with evidence.”
Speaking after the sentencing, the lead investigating officer in the case, Detective Constable Clare Barran, of the Major Collision and Enquiry Team, said: “James’ death is a tragedy for his loving family.
"He had cerebral palsy but refused to let that hold him back in life.
“He had his life cut short.
“Likewise Mota is a young man who now has time in jail during what should be some of the best years of his life.
"Speed was a key factor in this tragic case.
“As an officer who investigates road traffic collisions I see all too often the tragic consequences of what driving too fast can have – for all concerned.
“James’ family have issued a heart-felt tribute – they themselves have said how they don’t want this to ever happen to anyone again and that some motorists think that it won’t matter if they go too fast and that they are in control. They are not.”
DC Barren added: “The pain James’ family are still suffering is obvious through their words.
“I would urge people to stop and think for a second about what happened to James and how his family are now having to rebuild their own lives after this tragic incident.”
West Yorkshire Police’s #WYPTheCost campaign is highlighting the potential costs and consequences of speeding.
These can include prison time, a fine and a driving ban, in addition to the impact on anyone involved in a road traffic collision.
Officers want to drive home the dangers of the ‘Fatal 4’ motoring offences that are most commonly linked to death or serious injury: speeding, mobile phone use, drink and drug use and not wearing a seatbelt.
Mr Cromack's family added: “We are having to live with the pain of James’ loss.
“Anything that helps to educate drivers about the risks they put not only themselves but other road users and pedestrians is to be welcomed.
“If it stops just one family from having to suffer what we have had to go through then it has helped to make a difference.”
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