May 18 2013 Latest news:
by Lizzie Dearden, Reporter
Wednesday, October 17, 2012
Redbridge has the sixth-highest number of hit and runs in London, it has emerged.
Last year, most of the 147 incidents caused minor injuries and none were fatal.
The figure was slightly down on 2010, when there were 149 hit and runs, but way up on 2009, when there were just 107.
In May, a 16-year-old schoolgirl was hit while crossing the road outside her school.
Priya Shah, of Bronte Close, Gants Hill, was on her way home from her GCSE French exam when she was hit by a van.
Mum Alpa Shah, 45, said her daughter was thrown metres into the air by the impact before the driver sped away.
She was not seriously injured but needed hospital treatment and had to have physiotherapy and pain medication to finish her exams.
Last year, all Redbridge hit and runs were classed as “slight” or “serious”, but in 2010, two were fatal.
One victim was seven-year-old Ehsan Mahmood, who was hit as he crossed Leyswood Drive in Newbury Park, while visiting family.
Police said Ehsan became was dragged under the wheels and the driver continued for more than 20 yards before he fell free.
He died in hospital almost two weeks later.
Driving instructor Pankaj Desai said many drivers go too fast without paying enough attention to the road.
Mr Desai has been teaching in the Newbury Park area for nine years and has seen many crashes, including the fatal accident that killed 69-year-old lollipop man Dusan Danilovic on New Year’s Day last year.
Mr Desai said: “Driving isn’t a physical task, it’s a thinking task and I think there are lots of reasons for people to be distracted.
“It’s partly our lifestyle rushing around everywhere. People drive too fast for the road conditions when there’s lots of traffic around.”
Neighbouring Newham had the third-highest number of hit and runs, while Westminster topped the list with 218 last year.
Kingston-upon-Thames, by contrast, had just 38 hit and run incidents.
It is a criminal offence not to stop after an accident and drivers can be punished with a fine or up to six months imprisonment.