A MAN using his car to 'herd' stray cows in the early hours of the morning was involved in a head-on collision.

Blackburn magistrates heard that despite not being responsible for the crash the driver of the other vehicle fled leaving behind two seriously injured people.

The driver who had been herding the cows, Graham Foster, was in bed for five weeks after the incident in October and had still not been able to return to his work as a corporate chauffeur.

A woman in the other car, the driver's girlfriend, suffered a broken back. At the time she claimed she did not know the driver.

Ryan James Birkett, 32, of Springfield Road, Great Harwood, pleaded guilty to failing to stop and failing to report an accident, driving without insurance and other than in accordance with a licence.

He was made subject to a community order for 12 months with the Thinking Skills Programme and 200 hours' unpaid work, and ordered to pay £300 compensation. His licence was endorsed with 10 penalty points.

Stephanie Varle, prosecuting, said Mr Foster was driving up Mellor Lane, Mellor, approaching the Spread Eagle when he came across group of about 12 cows in the road.

"He accepts he was weaving from left to right as he tried to herd the cows to a point where they wouldn't present a danger," said Miss Varle.

"He saw headlights coming towards him at speed, there was a collision and everything was spinning around. Mr Foster remembers seeing a female crawling in the road but he had to stay in his car he was in so much pain."

Miss Varle said the female, Emily Goodbeer, was Birkett's partner at the time.

"She said she didn't know the person who had been driving the van," said Miss Varle.

She said Birkett attended the police station some days later. He confirmed he was driving the van and said he was doing about 50mph. He said he swerved to try to avoid the other car but hit it.

"He said he got out of the van and checked on his girlfriend and the driver of the other car," said Miss Varle.

"Because he didn't have a driving licence or insurance he said he panicked and ran off when he heard the emergency vehicles arriving."

Imran Hussain, defending, said police had carried out a reconstruction of the incident and had established that Mr Foster's car was on the wrong side of the road at the time of the collision.

"He was acting as a Good Samaritan but weaving between two lanes with his main beam on may not have been the best thing to do," said Mr Hussain.

He said his client accepted that he should not have left the scene and apologised for that.