Grieving husband reveals he drove past scene of his wife’s car crash death after work not knowing she had died – as ‘boy racer’ who ran over receptionist at speeds of up to 91mph is jailed for 5½ years
A grieving husband has told how he drove past the scene of a fatal road smash not realising that the victim was his wife.
Bolaji Onifade, 43, was heading to work on October 25, 2021, when he noticed police and ambulance workers tending to a pedestrian who had been hit by a wealthy businessman’s son driving a £200,000 Mercedes G-Wagon at speeds of up to 91mph.
He only learnt that the casualty was his wife Ibizugbe, 38, when he arrived at his IT firm in Salford, Greater Manchester, 20 minutes later.
Mohammed Chowdhury, 22, from Chadderton near Oldham, was driving the four litre G63 vehicle – which can reach 0-60mph in just 4.3 seconds – when he hit receptionist Mrs Onifade. Just moments before the crash he had been chatting on his mobile phone.
At Manchester Crown Court Chowdhury was jailed for five years and six months after admitting causing death by dangerous driving. He was also banned from driving for eight years and nine months.
He had previous convictions for driving without insurance and having a non-compliant number plate, and in both instances he provided the police with his brother’s details. He passed his driving test in November 2018 but attended a speed awareness course in 2021.
Chowdhury, whose family runs a successful textile company, had been racing down a busy and well lit dual carriageway in Manchester at 80mph overtaking and undertaking other drivers as he saw fit.
The speed of his driving was so great that it reportedly caused a fellow road users’ car to ‘shake as he drove past.’
Mrs Onifade was crossing the road at the time of the impact and died from multiple injuries.
In a statement Mrs Onifade’s husband, known as BJ, said: ‘That day changed my life forever. When I heard the news, I felt like I had come to the end of the world. What will I do without my wife?
‘She was a lively and friendly person. We met each other at Salford University and got married later on. We had been trying for a baby and were considering IVF before COVID set us back.
‘She would have been a wonderful mother. People should not be able to drive such high-powered cars when they are so young. If he had been driving sensibly, I would still have my wife.’
He added: ‘We went shopping in the morning and took our little nephew out with us. Then I took her to work, but before leaving I told her, you haven’t said goodbye to the little one. I offered to pick her up from work later but she said she would take a bus home as she was doing overtime.
‘I was on night shift so went to work later. When I was driving along Ashton New Road, I noticed flashing police lights from across the road and thought there must have been an incident. Something told me to call my wife, but she didn’t pick up. I got my cousin, to try and call her, but she also didn’t pick up.’
Mr Onifade then said he received a call from his wife’s employer saying there has been an incident and the police were going to attend his address.
The 43-year-old also said: ‘We had been together for 10 years. She had studied quantitative business at Salford University and got her masters at a university in Nigeria. We enjoyed each other’s company, dong normal things all couples like to do. Going to church and socialising with friends. She also loved watching films. She has four sisters, two brothers and a mother back in Nigeria. I just pray that they are ok.’
Prosecuting, Brian Berlyne described the moments after Chowdhury struck Mrs Onifade.
‘Chowdhury immediately stopped and phoned the ambulance, which arrived a short time after. The victim died later in the night from the multiple injuries sustained from the collision.
Although it was never fully confirmed the speed at which he was driving at the time, a police reconstruction of the incident measured his speed before the collision to be between 79 and 91 mph.. He did immediately slow down when he saw the victim and was estimated to have been at between 40-50mph at that point.
‘After being arrested at the scene, the defendant’s phone was seized. Analysis found that he had received no less than six calls between 8:51 and 8:57. The last call was taken at 8:57 and lasted for 2 minutes. At 9:00 he also used his phone to call the police.
‘In interview, he denied driving dangerously and gave no account of his actions.’
In mitigation, Mohammed Nawaz, said: ‘He acquired an interest in cars at a young age, and by 14 he was spending more time fixing up care than he was spending at school. His family own a successful textile business that he worked for briefly. Their success allowed him to have access to fast and high-powered vehicles. ‘
But sentencing Judge Timothy Clayson told Chowdhury: ‘It is clear that you have a tendency for sensation seeking and risk taking behaviour. This was a built-up area where pedestrians were likely to be present and crossing the road. You made no consideration of that fact. You were distracted and driving at a grossly excessive speed in a built-up area- and this resulted in disastrous consequences.’