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Reckless driver leaves pensioner injured
AN ELDERLY woman was hospitalised for two weeks with serious injuries after an impatient driver smashed head-on into a car after attempting an illegal overtaking move on an unlit country road.
Sam Dowling, of Rycroft Meadow, Beggarwood, Basingstoke, pleaded guilty to dangerous driving causing grievous bodily harm after his black Skoda Fabia collided with a Ford Mondeo at 11.20pm on the A33 at Turgis Green on April 5.
The 21-year-old and his two passengers escaped injury but the elderly mother of the Mondeo driver was hospitalised for a fortnight.
The 76-year-old passenger fractured a bone in her neck, broke three ribs, fractured her sternum and sustained extensive bruising. Her son suffered minor injuries and needed an overnight stay in hospital.
The smash came a week after Dowling had three points put on his licence after he pleaded guilty to driving with undue care and attention for speeding off with his passenger door open, following an argument with his girlfriend.
Referring to the April 5 crash, Tammy Mears, prosecuting, told Winchester Crown Court that Dowling was tailgating the car in front, looking for an opportunity to overtake on the 40mph stretch of road.
She said a witness had described Dowling as “giving it some welly” as he pulled out into the other lane, crossing a double white line.
He overtook before the brow of the hill, and did not see the Mondeo, which was coming around a hidden bend.
The court heard that following the crash, an off-duty police officer said Dowling’s car smelt of cannabis. A urine test revealed traces of the drug but there was no evidence to suggest Dowling had been smoking cannabis at the time of the incident, or was driving under the influence.
John Evans, defending, told Judge Linda Sullivan that Dowling had made a “foolish error of judgement”, and added that he had fully co-operated with the police investigation.
Passing sentence, Judge Sullivan said: “It was obvious from the witness that you were very anxious to overtake that car, and one of the witnesses said you were tailgating it.
“You used ‘some welly’ to overtake when there was a double white line. Double white lines are there for a purpose. You chose to overtake and then you hit, head-on, a Ford Mondeo travelling in an opposite direction.
“You were fortunate that you and your passengers only received minor cuts and bruises, and the driver of the other car was in a similar position.
“But the female passenger was an elderly lady who received a number of fractures, and three broken ribs and needed to remain in hospital.”
She added: “This was a substantial impact wholly down to your dangerous driving.”
The judge handed Dowling – who had been committed to the crown court for sentence – a 12-month prison sentence, suspended for two years, 100 hours of unpaid community service, a 12-month supervision order and disqualified him from driving for 12 months.
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