A HIT-AND-RUN driver who mowed down two friends and drove over one of them will be out of prison in just 16 months for his sickening crimes.

Luke Mason was left in a coma and with life-changing injuries after Hadi Hamid ploughed into him and pal Matthew Lockwood while he was banned from the roads and over the alcohol limit.

A-level student and Oxford hopeful Luke, 18, said last night: "I don't blame the judge for the sentence - it's the fault of the criminal justice system - his hands were tied."

Hamid was jailed for four years after he admitted a charge of causing serious injury by dangerous driving - which has a maximum sentence of five years - but will serve just half, less the time he has spent on remand since the horror in October.

In a different case in the same court, a car owner who drove at a motorcyclist and broke both of his legs was jailed for 11 years after pleading guilty to causing grievous bodily harm with intent.

Luke said after the case of 40-year-old Hamid, who was disqualified for dangerous driving in 2013: "The justice system lets people down every day.

"I want to go into politics, and the thing I wanted to change was the justice system, but I never thought I'd become a part of it.

"I will still be going to hospital when he comes out of prison. I would rather go to prison than have to go through what I went through."

Luke, who is doing politics, economics, history and religious studies at The King's Academy Sixth Form in Middlesbrough, is now a year behind in his studies.

He says he has had to put his life on hold while he received major surgery and intensive treatment for injuries to his spine, collar bone and arm, which now all have metal plates inserted.

The brave teenager also had a large wound to his head and multiple abrasions to his face, neck and abdomen, a collapsed lung, blood in his chest cavity, multiple broken ribs and a fractured hip when he arrived in the intensive care unit at hospital.

Teesside Crown Court heard that he was put into an induced coma, was in hospital for nine weeks, and if was four weeks before police could speak to him about what happened.

When officers had arrived on the scene near the Empire nightclub in Middlesbrough in the aftermath of the 1.15am collision, the teenager muttered: "Don't let me die."

Matthew, also 18, was clipped by the Dodge Avenger and knocked out of the way before his friend was carried along on the bonnet before falling off and being driven over.

In his personal statement, Matthew said he had no memory of being hit, but suffered a badly cut head which needed 20 stitches and still bears a scar, a bleed to the brain and an injured knee.

Hamid, of Dorman Gardens, Middlesbrough, also admitted driving while disqualified, failing to provide a specimen of breath and having no insurance, and was banned from the roads for 12 years.

His lawyer, Robert Mochrie, said: "Clearly the most distressing aspect of this case is the fact that Mr Hamid chose to drive over Luke after he had been thrown to the floor.

"When the defendant drove over him he did not do so with any malice. It was undoubtedly a cowardly act, but one borne out of fear and panic, having realised what he had done."

Judge Tony Briggs told Hamid: "Your driving was very dangerous. The area was crowded with people, and a chilling feature of this case is that you shot past a group of girls in the middle of the road which you could just as easily have knocked over.

"Liam Mason, who has read his victim impact statement in court with considerable dignity and restraint, suffered devastating injuries."

He added: "As far as the maximum sentence is concerned, and I say this for the benefit of the public, the offence of causing injury by dangerous driving has taken a long time to become law. The campaign for it was a lengthy one, and goes back decades.

"The authorities are perfectly clear at present, and any alteration would require Parliamentary attention. But there are many many people who would wonder whether five years was sufficient for causing injury while driving a vehicle which, if misused, would be likely to cause far more damage than a simple assault.

"I explain all this for the benefit of the families. The basic position is, solutions lie in the powers of others."