BMW driver high on cocaine left pensioner with life-changing injuries

Lee Falivena Credit: Derbyshire Police

A driver left a pensioner with life-changing injuries after ploughing his car into him while high on cocaine.

Lee Falivena lost control of the borrowed BMW he was driving in the junction of Wragley Way and Beaufort Road on 17 July.

He mounted the kerb and hit a 74-year-old man, throwing him over the car and causing catastrophic injuries.

But instead of stopping, Falivena, who said he believed he had killed his victim, fled the scene before pulling over and running off – leaving his own teenage son in the passenger seat.

He then purchased alcohol before heading to his home in Church Street, Church Gresley, in Derbyshire, where officers arrested him later that same evening.

While Falivena was drinking, emergency services had rushed to the scene and taken the victim to hospital where it was found he suffered a long list of serious injuries including multiple fractures to his back, leg and neck.

So serious were the injuries that the man, who was the main carer for his cancer-suffering wife and disabled son, is yet to come home and remains in a rehabilitation unit.

When he was arrested officers found Falivena was over the legal limit for cocaine – and he told officers he had been drinking alcohol in the car prior to the collision.

Not only was he driving under the influence of drugs – he was also uninsured.

After pleading guilty to causing serious injury through dangerous driving, driving without insurance, failing to stop following an accident, failing to report an accident and possession of cannabis he was jailed for three years and eight months at Derby Crown Court.

In a victim impact statement read out at the sentencing hearing the victim’s family told of their anger at Falivena’s actions writing: “He acted like a coward and drove off leaving our father at the side of the road to die and was only concerned about himself.

“This is something we will never forgive him for.

“Our dad’s life will never be the same and neither will ours. We are now left with a lifetime of worries about how we are going to move forward and care for him.”

At the same hearing on December 19, Falivena, who had previous convictions for drink driving, careless driving and failing to report an accident, was also handed an 11-year, three-month disqualification from driving.

DC Patricia Siddall Hart, from Derbyshire Constabulary’s Collision Investigation Unit, said: “The injuries suffered by the victim in this case are among the worst that a person could expect to survive.

“And all because of Falivena’s reckless, selfish behaviour that are quite frankly beyond contempt.

“However, his actions have been put in stark contrast to the victim and his family who have carried themselves with such strength and dignity throughout this process.

“The injuries that he has suffered are among the worst I have seen someone survive and I wish him and his family all the very best as he continues his recovery and I hope he is home as soon as possible.

“During the festive period the force runs a drink and drug driving campaign, and this case is a prime example of how someone who thought that they could easily drive while under influence was proven categorically wrong.

“His decision to get behind the wheel while high on cocaine has utterly devastated his victim, and his family.

“Falivena thought he could get away with it – and he will have to think about his actions while locked up. Don’t make the same mistake as him.”