Driver whose car hit wall after he fell asleep escapes ban

News from the courts

News from the courts

A young man who smashed his van into a tree and suffered multiple fractures fell asleep at the wheel.

Jack David Corlett, of Close-Y-Lhergy, Union Mills, was just minutes away from home when the accident happened near Snugborough at 4am on January 3.

The 19-year-old suffered a broken nose, cracked vertebrae and a broken sternum in the accident, and police found him on the pavement in considerable pain, coughing up blood, the court heard.

He told police he had fallen asleep at the wheel and this was supported by an absence of skid marks on the road, which was shut while an accident investigation was carried out.

A breath test proved to be negative.

For the prosecution, James Robinson said Corlett had been out with friends during the evening and had been a passenger in a friend’s car. In the early hours, he had collected his van, which was parked at the Quarterbridge and had then driven to Port Erin to give a friend a lift home.

The teenager told police he had been very tired as he drove home and he had opened the van window to allow a blast of cool air inside to help keep him awake, but despite this, nodded off, hitting what police described as a ‘mature and well-rooted’ tree. He had already admitted careless driving via a coroner’s admission but was brought to court to give reasons why he should not receive a driving ban.

Corlett’s advocate, Pamela Pringle, said he was an apprentice joiner and needed to be able to drive for work. She said the defendant’s injuries had been quite serious and he had already learned his lesson. There was no alcohol involved in the accident, she pointed out, adding it had simply been an error of judgement in driving when he was tired.

‘There is little or no prospect of him reoffending,’ she said.

He admitted careless driving and having two defective tyres (which did not contribute to the accident).

He was fined £500 with £50 costs but was spared a driving ban.

Sentencing him, magistrates’ chairman Caroline Convery said: ‘You are 19 and an inexperienced driver. This happened just 12 months after an earlier caution for careless driving. Under normal circumstances this would attract a disqualification and a requirement to retake your driving test. But we accept this was down to lack of judgement rather than incompetence.’

He was banned from driving for one month and will not have to retake his test.

Mrs Convery told him: ‘When you drive you must ensure you are fit to do so, and that includes not being so tired that you fall asleep.’

No separate penalty was imposed by the court for the defective tyres.

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