Taxi driver fined for hindering 999 crew

A TAXI DRIVER who left two paramedics in fear of being attacked as they dealt with a life-threatening situation has been found guilty of using threatening behaviour.

James Hore

A TAXI DRIVER who left two paramedics in fear of being attacked as they dealt with a life-threatening situation has been found guilty of using threatening behaviour.

Trevor Plane's Mercedes Veto people-carrier was unable to get past an ambulance responding to a 999 call in Weetmans Drive, Colchester, on January 13 this year.

The 58-year-old from Boxted Road, Great Horkesley, was attempting to collect a youngster from a football match and became aggravated by the delay.

Plane denied any wrongdoing, but the one-day trial at Harwich Magistrates' Court heard the two female crew members were both left feeling frightened by his actions during what became an "awful situation".

Paramedic, Suzanne Lillington, told the court their ambulance had been placed in the only available space which would allow its trolley ramp to be used safely.

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She said the area was "littered with cars" and it had been "very, very difficult to park" on the narrow road, meaning it became blocked as they dealt with a woman who had overdosed inside her home.

Plane initially knocked on the house's door and asked if the ambulance could be moved and was told it would take about 10 minutes.

However, their patient's condition deteriorated and when her student paramedic, Sarah Ashman ,was outside getting equipment she heard shouting.

Miss Lillington said: "I felt as though she could be in some form of danger and needed to make sure that she was o.k.

"I asked the gentleman what the problem was. At this point I was told, 'Can you move your bloody ambulance out the way, I am sick of your lot parking where you like'.

"I explained that we were on an emergency call and would go when the job was completed.

"He followed me to the back of the ambulance and insisted on harassing me further - he was in my personal space, very close to me.

"I said, 'please leave it there. There is nothing else I can do, please don't abuse me in this way.

"It was quite distressing really, thinking about it all now."

She said Plane's demeanour had been "very angry" as he explained he had an "urgent pick-up".

The patient, who was still inside her house, became aware of the situation outside and became very upset at what was happening.

Police were called to assist and the patient was eventually taken to hospital.

"I did not know if this guy was going to come up and try to damage the ambulance or do something to us - I did not know," she said.

Miss Ashman then told the court other people had also been irritated by the ambulance blocking the road, but said they had remained in their cars.

She described how Plane's action's left her feeling vulnerable and "quite scared".

The paramedic, who had been in the job eight months, said: "I had never had anything like this as I was quite new.

"He was quite close-up and in my face. I felt quite scared, quite shaken," she added.

Police attended the scene and Plane was cautioned.

Plane denied obstructing the ambulance crew and accused the police of being aggressive towards him.

He said the accusation he followed the crew-members to the back of their ambulance was a "complete fabrication" and also denied swearing.

However, he was found guilty of using disorderly conduct through insulting, abusive or threatening behaviour.

He was also convicted of obstructing or hindering an emergency crew whilst on an emergency response although he was cleared on one charge of failing to produce his driving licence for inspection.

He was fined �250 for each offence and ordered to pay court costs of �455 and a victim surcharge of �15.