A driver who was travelling at almost three times the speed limit in foggy conditions and on the wrong side of the road when he hit and killed a teenage cyclist has been told by a judge that he faces jail when he is sentenced next month.
The High Court in Edinburgh heard that Sami Ula Jabbar, aged 29, was speeding in his Mercedes E400 at around 80mph when he crashed into 16-year-old Harley Smith, reports the Daily Record.
The youngster, who was a student at St Mungo’s High School, sustained a fatal head injury in the crash, which happened on Polmont Road in Falkirk on 6 November 2020.
Jabbar, who pleaded guilty to causing death by dangerous driving, was refused bail by Lord Mulholland, the judge presiding over the case.
Harley had been returning home to Grangemouth after going out to see some friends when Jabbar hit him.
Prosecuting, advocate depute Alex Prentice QC said: “It is obvious that Harley Smith was a much loved young man who had great ambition in life and enriched the lives of others.”
He told the court that Alan and Jill Dougal, who were out walking their dogs, saw Jabbar driving his Mercedes at high speed.
“As it approached the Mary Street roundabout, Mr Dougal was concerned that the driver would lose control of the vehicle as it appeared to tilt slightly to its left as it navigated the roundabout,” he said. “Jill Dougal remonstrated towards the driver to encourage him to slow down.
“At this time a bus on the road ahead was pulling into a bus stop. The Mercedes motor car navigated around the bus by entering the opposing lane contrary to the ‘keep left’ bollard situated on the road.
Mr Prentice said that another witness, Donald Conroy, who was driving along Polmont Road, said that he saw “in his rear view mirror the Mercedes screeching to a halt and a person being propelled into the air to the height of what seemed like the ‘top of the lamp post’.”
He said: “What Mr Conroy saw was the accused colliding with Harley Smith who was crossing the road. The accused drove towards the locus at a speed estimated to be around 80 mph."
“Collision investigators are of the view that the collision and impact would not have occurred had the accused abided by the speed limits and had adjusted his driving to the circumstances. I say that because it was foggy and dark.”
Jabbar, who owns a convenience store and has prior convictions including for careless driving, admitted to police that he had been driving the car at the time of the fatal collision.
But despite the fact he was nearly three times over the speed limit and on the wrong side of the road, he claimed that the teenager had come “out of nowhere.”
He said: “I was driving along the road with my two friends in the car and out of nowhere out on the right-hand side, a cyclist appeared wearing all black on an all-black bike and then I never seen him and then boom, he came right on top of the windscreen.”
Deferring sentencing until next month, the judge told Jabbar: “Be under no misapprehension here. This is a very serious matter.
“Cyclists are as much entitled to use the roads, the Queen's highway, as motorists and they are entitled to feel safe and be safe.”
He added: “You have taken a young man’s life. Loved by his family, you have delivered to them a life sentence, a life sentence of loss and grief.”
Simon joined road.cc as news editor in 2009 and is now the site’s community editor, acting as a link between the team producing the content and our readers. A law and languages graduate, published translator and former retail analyst, he has reported on issues as diverse as cycling-related court cases, anti-doping investigations, the latest developments in the bike industry and the sport’s biggest races. Now back in London full-time after 15 years living in Oxford and Cambridge, he loves cycling along the Thames but misses having his former riding buddy, Elodie the miniature schnauzer, in the basket in front of him.