A MOTORCYCLIST who drove at speeds of up to 98mph in city rush hour with a pillion rider and crashed into a bus shelter, causing his friend spinal injuries and hurting onlookers, has been jailed.
Grant Auld, 26, of Curriehill Road, Currie, was driving at high speed, doing wheelies with pillion passenger Rafal Berejowski, 25, on March 21, last year, when he swerved out of control.
Witnesses waiting at a bus stop near Ardmillan Terrace, saw a large bright, lime green motorcycle parked unattended on the pavement.
Minutes later, Auld appeared, wearing green-and-white biking leathers, matching the Kawasaki ZX6R motorbike. He jumped on to the bike, appearing “hyper” and happy.
The court heard that as he revved the engine, he said “listen to this” to Berejowski, who also got on the bike. The pair then drove off.
Mr Berejowski later suffered severe spinal injuries. He was in a coma for two weeks and in hospital for six months after the incident.
At 4.35pm, a passenger on a 44 bus heard the noise of a loud motorbike and saw the bike “take off”, Edinburgh Sheriff Court heard yesterday.
The bike went onto the opposite carriageway, overtook two or three vehicles and then cut in front of another onto the correct side of the road.
Around 20 witnesses said that the driver had done a wheelie, gone through a red traffic light and then crashed into the bus stop. A witness described seeing the rear of the bike swinging from left to right, as if the driver was losing control, and estimated its speed at 95mph to 100mph.
CCTV from buses captured the motorcyclist’s driving.
Witnesses at a bus shelter saw the bike heading towards them and ran for safety, but were still showered with glass.
When the bus struck the shelter, one woman who had shut her eyes to protect them from glass shards, opened them to see Auld and Mr Berejowski lying at her feet.
The woman suffered cuts and bruises to her face. Police, fire and ambulance services were all called to the scene and Dalry Road was closed.
Auld and Mr Berejowski were taken to the Royal Infirmary, where doctors initially told police neither was expected to survive their injuries. Mr Berejowski has since undergone several spinal operations. He has limited movement and sensation from the waist down and has to use a wheelchair for long distances.
He had worked as a chef, but would not be able to return to manual work.
The court yesterday also heard Auld had broken legs, a fractured wrist, broken pelvis, and his spleen and kidney removed.
Auld, who is still receiving treatment, said he was “pretty God-damn lucky”.
When Auld was questioned by police on June 1, 2014, he said he had been driving motorbikes since he was 15 or 16. He remembered meeting Mr Berejowski at a couple of social gatherings, but could not recall how he came to be on the bike. Fiscal Depute Ann MacNeill said Auld appeared shocked when told about doing a wheelie and travelling at 98mph. “That’s scary,” he said.
Auld told the officers he had not driven since, but would eventually and added that he “felt horrible about the accident” and admitted he could have killed someone.
When asked about his memory loss, Auld told police he had spoken to a hospital psychologist and was told it was possibly psychological.
Defence solicitor, Sarah Quinn, said her client, who entered the court on crutches, fully accepted responsibility for his actions. She said: “He accepts it was his fault and both his life and that of Mr Berejowski has been destroyed.” Auld had tried to contact Mr Berejowski, but the pillion passenger wanted nothing to do with him.
Auld was yesterday jailed for 21 months, and banned from driving for 42 months.