Van driver avoids jail after crash

A SUFFOLK van driver who ploughed into a queue of stationary cars near the Orwell bridge has been ordered to do 90 hours community service.Martin Edwards, 39, was nearing the end of his day's work when he failed to see that traffic in front of him had stopped moving due to an accident on the Orwell Bridge Ipswich Crown Court heard.

A SUFFOLK van driver who ploughed into a queue of stationary cars near the Orwell bridge has been ordered to do 90 hours community service.

Martin Edwards, 39, was nearing the end of his day's work when he failed to see that traffic in front of him had stopped moving due to an accident on the Orwell Bridge Ipswich Crown Court heard.

His van, which had been travelling at 70 miles per hour, careered into the back of a Renault shunting it forward violently and causing it to spin round and hit the central reservation twice.

The car driver, who had activated his hazard lights to warn other vehicles that he had stopped, his wife and their young daughter all received minor injuries and were taken to hospital said Godfried Duah prosecuting.

A second vehicle which had been towing a trailer tent was also badly damaged in the accident.

Edwards, of Old Melton Approach, Woodbridge admitted dangerous driving and in addition to the community service order his licence was endorsed with six penalty points and he was ordered to pay £500 costs.

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He was also ordered to have a medical check from his GP to make sure he wasn't suffering from any medical condition that might have caused the accident.

Sentencing Edwards Recorder Richard Atchley said that Edwards, who was knocked unconscious in the collision, had been honest from the outset and had sought to explain what happened without trying to avoid responsibility.

“We will probably never know what caused you not to see the line of cars ahead,” said the judge. He said that because of Edwards conduct and good record it wasn't necessary to send him to prison.

After hearing that Edwards was likely to lose his job if he was banned from driving the judge found special reasons not to disqualify him.

Mr Duah said the accident happened at 13.45pm on August 12 last year following a road traffic accident on the Orwell Bridge which had caused traffic approaching the bridge to come to a halt.

When Edwards was interviewed by police he said he was driving and suddenly realised there were cars in front of him. He said he may have fallen asleep at the wheel.

Nick Hoffman for Edwards said his client drove 50,000 miles a year in the course of his work and he had a clean licence. He said it was very fortunate that no-one was seriously injured or killed as a result of the collision.

“He may have closed his eyes for a second. He wasn't conscious of the fact he was tired,” said Mr Hoffman.

Edwards told the court he had got up at 5am that morning to drive to Aylesbury and he had been minutes from the end of his return journey when the accident happened.

“I braked but it was too late,” he said.

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