Wed, 04 Jan 2017
A MAN has been jailed for dangerous driving after causing a crash while overtaking on a blind bend.
Heroin addict Simon Andrew Lopez was hurrying to meet his dealer when the incident occurred.
He initially denied dangerous driving, blaming an unspecified mechanical fault instead, but he was convicted at trial.
At a sentencing hearing on Thursday, December 22, he learned he would be spending the festive period in jail.
Charlotte Abbott, prosecuting, said the accident happened on Langley Hill, Calcot, in the early afternoon of November 19 last year.
A Ford Focus driven by Mr Lopez, of Royal Avenue, Calcot, overtook a Vauxhall Astra on a blind bend, then collided with an oncoming Ford Ka driven by a man identified only as Mr Taplin.
The Ka was written off and Mr Taplin suffered neck injuries, and Ms Abbott said: “DNA found on the airbag of the Focus identified the driver as Mr Lopez”.
The 34-year-old later gave a “no comment” interview to police, the court heard.
Mr Lopez’ previous convictions feature motoring offences, including taking a vehicle without consent, driving without insurance and driving otherwise than in accordance with a licence, magistrates were told.
A probation officer said Mr Lopez had been on his way to meet his heroin dealer when the accident happened and still maintained a mechanical fault caused him to lose control of the vehicle.
She added that he was an unsuitable candidate for an unpaid community work sentence because he had injured himself while injecting heroin into his groin.
In addition, she said, he had failed to properly comply with previous court orders.
The probation officer said Mr Lopez presented a “medium risk of harm” to the public and suggested a suspended prison sentence was an appropriate punishment.
Simon Grant, defending, pointed out that the offence was now more than 12 months old.
After retiring to confer, magistrates told Mr Lopez he had been overtaking on a blind bend at speed and that the offence was aggravated because Mr Taplin’s car had been written off and he had suffered neck injuries.
They said they had also considered his record of offending and the fact that he had failed to comply properly with previous, community-based court orders and concluded by saying the offence was so serious that only an immediate custodial sentence was justified.
Mr Lopez was sentenced to 16 weeks imprisonment.
He was also ordered to pay the original trial costs of £775 plus a statutory victim services surcharge of £80.
Mr Lopez waved to his mother in the public gallery as he was led to the cells.