Illegal drag racers sentenced after Port Talbot crash

A 24-year-old student who injured three spectators during an illegal drag race on a public road has been given a suspended jail sentence.

Jia Guo was driving a four-litre BMW in the two-car race held in Baglan Energy Park near Port Talbot in January.

But he swerved off course into spectators and later admitted dangerous driving at Swansea Crown Court.

Michael Palumbo, 37, who was driving the other car, was fined after admitting careless driving.

Judge Peter Heywood said he would have made Guo, who is taking a masters course at Swansea Metropolitan University, pay significant compensation to the injured spectators but the law did not allow him.

Guo was jailed for 32 weeks, suspended for 18 months, ordered to carry out 220 hours of unpaid work for the community, banned from driving for 18 months and told to pay £1,200 in prosecution costs.

Palumbo, an American living in the Vale of Glamorgan who was driving a six-litre Pontiac he had shipped over from the United States, was told to pay £500 in fines and £105 in costs. He had been cleared during a trial of dangerous driving.

Permanently scarred

The court heard that the race, which took place over 200m from a standing start, was watched by several spectators.

Guo, whose family are from China, veered to the left, hit a kerb and struck Sian Pimm, Hugh Bevan and Marcus Bounds.

Ms Pimm suffered facial and leg injuries and will be permanently scarred, the court heard.

Mr Bounds had a double fracture to his right leg and Mr Bevan had leg and back injuries.

Judge Heywood said both men had been "wholly irresponsible" in taking part in a race on a public road, in wet conditions and at night time.