An ambulance driver was found guilty of dangerous driving today for his role in a crash which left a teenager with serious injuries.
Technician Andrew Collis was responding to a 999 call after a two-vehicle crash involving two children on the A32 at Mislingford in Hampshire when he saw a Renault Clio in front of him indicating to turn right into a lane.
Clio driver Jessica Barnett, 18, stopped flashing her indicator and drifted back into the middle of the single carriageway.
Sophie Stevens, prosecuting, told Portsmouth Magistrates’ Court that Collis, 43, of South Central Ambulance Service, decided to pull out into the oncoming carriageway with the intention of overtaking Miss Barnett’s Renault Clio.
But Ms Stevens said that within moments, the Clio’s right indicator flashed right again and the two vehicles collided. The accident happened at about 6.30pm on February 9 in dark, drizzly conditions.
Ms Stevens said there was no suggestion of Collis driving above the 60mph speed limit or that a mechanical fault or mobile phone use contributed to the crash.
After colliding with Miss Barnett’s car, the ambulance went on to crash into an electricity post. The teenager, who had recently passed her driving test, suffered serious and life-threatening head injuries in the crash, from which she is still recovering.
She remains in a specialist unit at a hospital in Bath.
Collis, of Limetree Close, East Preston, near Littlehampton, West Sussex, denied one count of dangerous driving. Collis, an ambulanceman for six years, told officers: “All I wanted to do was do my best for the people that were hurt.”
But district judge Anne Arnold today found him guilty of dangerous driving and said: “In overtaking, Collis’ standard of driving fell far below what would be expected of a careful and competent driver.”
She added: “The car itself was a very obvious hazard not withstanding it was indicating on, off, then on again.” Miss Barnett’s victim impact statement was read to the court detailing the effects of her brain injury.
Her memory has been badly affected, her speech is slurred, she has double vision, bad headaches and is still in a lot of pain, it said.