Banned driver jailed for causing crash

A MOTORIST with 17 convictions for driving while disqualified caused havoc when he collided with six vehicles, including a dustcart, while he was trying to overtake, a court heard.

A MOTORIST with 17 convictions for driving while disqualified caused havoc when he collided with six vehicles, including a dustcart, while he was trying to overtake, a court heard.

Alan Bridge, who has never passed his driving test, was heading towards Ipswich along the A1071 at Hintlesham when he pulled out to overtake an articulated lorry, Ipswich Crown Court was told yesterday.

Peter Gair, prosecuting, said a dustcart was heading towards him in the opposite direction at the time, heading a line of cars, many of which were damaged in the accident that followed.

Bridge, 38, of Glamorgan Road, Ipswich, admitted dangerous driving, driving while disqualified, having no insurance and failing to surrender to custody after the incident in November 2003.

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Jailing him for 21 months and two weeks and banning him from driving for five years, after which he must take an extended driving test, Judge John Holt said his driving caused "havoc" on the day in question.

He said that two of the six vehicles hit by Bridge were write-offs as a result of the accident, as was the defendant's own car.

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Judge Holt added the driver of the dustcart had been forced to swerve on to a grass verge after the defendant's car suddenly appeared in the middle of the road in front of him.

"The next thing he heard was your car hitting the side of his vehicle. During the 30 years he had been driving he had never seen anything like it before," said the judge.

He said the dustcart driver's colleague had curled himself up into a ball when he saw the defendant's car coming towards them and following the impact he had thought that the defendant must be dead.

The matter was aggravated by the fact that Bridge had run away immediately after the accident, added the judge.

Mr Gair said the accident had happened at about 4.30pm on November 11, 2003, on the A1071 at Hintlesham.

The single carriageway road had no street lighting and featured a number of bends. At the time of the accident it was dark and the weather had been overcast and misty.

After pulling out to overtake the articulated lorry, Bridge had collided with the dustcart and had also hit the lorry he was overtaking.

He had then lost control of his Vauxhall Nova and proceeded to damage four other vehicles, a Volvo, a Vauxhall van, a Volkswagen Golf and Vauxhall Zafira, that were behind the dustcart.

The driver of the VW Golf suffered neck and shoulder injuries in the accident.

Other motorists described said they had been "frightened and shaken up" after the incident and some had small children in their cars with them.

Mr Gair said that immediately after the accident, Bridge had run off with a woman who had been in the car with him. He was later arrested after getting into a taxi and refused to answer questions about the accident.

Mr Gair said that Bridge had 17 offences of driving while disqualified and one of the reasons that his case had taken so long to come to court was that he had served two terms of imprisonment in the intervening period.

Gareth Morgan, for Bridge, accepted his client had an appalling record and admitted he had never taken a driving test.

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