Diabetic driver admits causing death of Harwich man by careless driving

Ipswich Crown Court Picture: CHARLOTTE BOND

Thomas Treadwell has pleaded guilty to careless driving at Ipswich Crown Court. - Credit: Charlotte Bond

A diabetic driver who was involved in a horrific fatal head-on crash after his blood sugar levels dropped dangerously low has been warned he is likely to be jailed.

Thomas Treadwell had only got his driving licence back three weeks before the collision in which a 23-year-old Essex man died after having it revoked on two earlier occasions because of his poor management of his type I diabetes, Ipswich Crown Court heard.

On March 27, 2018, Treadwell had been driving from his workplace in London to his girlfriend’s house in Harwich when his Vauxhall Corsa crossed on to the wrong side of the A120 between Ramsey and Parkeston and was involved in a head-on collision with a Ford Fiesta driven by Aironas Gzimaila, who died instantly.

The crash and Treadwell’s erratic driving in the lead-up to it was caught on the dash cam of a following car and was played to the court.

Richard Kelly, prosecuting, said that in the footage Treadwell’s car could be seen “meandering” towards the near side verge before “meandering” towards the central line in the road.

The court heard that at the time of the collision Treadwell, who suffered serious injuries in the impact, was having a hypoglycaemic episode during which his blood sugar levels had fallen dangerously low.

Mr Kelly said people experiencing this appeared  drunk and symptoms included confusion, difficulty in talking, sweating and blurred vision.

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He said that DVLA advised type I diabetics to test their blood sugar levels less than two hours before driving and then every two hours after setting out on a journey.

He said Treadwell had stopped at a garage at Marks Tey around 30 minutes before the collision, which happened at 8.45pm, and had bought a sandwich and a can of Red Bull.

“That was two hours or so after he left London and as DVLA advises that you should test every two hours once you start driving that was an ideal opportunity to test and he failed to do so.”

He said that if Treadwell had tested his blood sugar levels at Marks Tey he would have been alerted to the fact he was about to go into hypoglycaemia.

“His failure to test at that moment in time is the crux of his culpability and his carelessness,” said Mr Kelly.

He said Treadwell had a history of poor management of his blood sugar levels and missing medical appointments.

His driving licence had been revoked in 2010 and again in 2016 following a minor accident after he became hypoglycaemic.

His licence was renewed for one year in March 6, 2018 - just 21 days before the fatal collision - after it was declared in a DVLA form signed by his GP that he hadn’t had a hypoglycaemic episode in the previous 12 months.

Treadwell, 31, of Langdon Hills, Basildon admitted causing the death of Mr Gzimaila by careless driving.

Judge Martyn Levett adjourned sentence until March 18 for a pre-sentence and imposed an interim driving ban.

He warned Treadwell that he was likely to receive a prison sentence and the only real issue was the length.

James Thacker, for Treadwell, who controls his diabetes with insulin, said that since the collision times had changed and his client now had an inbuilt blood sugar monitor.

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