American was on wrong side of road

AN AMERICAN businessman was fined £325 after he was in a head-on collision with another car when driving on the wrong side of the road.Andrew Gillen, 39, who pleaded guilty to careless driving, had been on a business trip to Ipswich when a fellow American colleague asked to be shown a roundabout.

AN AMERICAN businessman was fined £325 after he was in a head-on collision with another car when driving on the wrong side of the road.

Andrew Gillen, 39, who pleaded guilty to careless driving, had been on a business trip to Ipswich when a fellow American colleague asked to be shown a roundabout.

But while driving on the A1071 near Hintlesham at 1.15am on November 2 Gillen felt uncomfortable with the road and decided to turn back to Ipswich.

But as he headed back he drove on the right-hand side of the road.


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Gillen appeared at South East Suffolk Magistrates Court on November 8.

The court heard how Gillen had been on a three-week visit to Ipswich and was staying in the Holiday Inn in London Road.

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His colleague, who was from Cleveland, Ohio, asked to be shown a roundabout as he was unfamiliar with such a road layout in his home state.

But after Gillen did a three-point turn in the Volkswagen Passat to turn back he drove on the wrong side of the road and so when another car came round a bend the two collided.

The driver of the other car, who was a woman from Hadleigh, suffered bruising to her chest from the seat belt and shock.

In mitigation Tanya Thomas said: "He drove on the American side of the road, unfortunately he didn't realise just in time. He's here working and he's involved in setting up equipment in Ipswich. He had been working late and they had had a meal."

Miss Thomas added that as it had been dark and the road bendy, Gillen had felt uncomfortable with driving further and so turned around.

"He then saw another car, swerved to try and get out of the way, then realised it was him that was in the wrong and there was a collision."

Since the accident Gillen, who has 22 years of driving experience, has not driven a car in England.

Miss Thomas said Gillen was very remorseful and had found the experience of being questioned at Ipswich police station upsetting.

Michael Hilton, chairman of the bench, said: "We do know the situation you found yourself in but nevertheless you caused an accident.

"It's one of those things which happens - it can't be condoned but it happens."

Gillen was fined £220 and ordered to pay the other driver £50 in compensation and £55 court costs.

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