An ambulance driver involved in a road accident in which an elderly patient passenger died was found guilty of causing the fatal crash.
Garth Green was taking Margaret Allsop, 75, from her home in Sutton-on-Sea to Pilgrim Hospital in the early hours of the morning when his ambulance left the A16 road at Sibsey and ended up on its side in a ditch.
Mrs Allsop, who was due to receive treatment for a leg injury, was thrown across the ambulance suffering fatal injuries.
Prosecutor David Beal claimed Green may have fallen asleep at the wheel but this was rejected by deputy district judge Bal Dhaliwal at the end of a two day trial at Boston Magistrates Court on Wednesday.
The judge also rejected Green’s claim that he was dazzled by the headlights of an oncoming vehicle. She ruled that the accident was the result of inattention by Green.
She told Green: “I am not satisfied that you were asleep at the time. Likewise I do not find you were dazzled. The whole of the evidence tells me that there was inattention on your part. The fact of the matter is that your vehicle veered off the road. That is not what I would expect of a competent and careful driver. There was no evasive action and no braking action on your part.”
Green, 63, of Nelson Way, Grimsby, denied causing death by careless driving as a result of the incident in December 2012 but was found guilty. He was sentenced to 150 hours of unpaid work, banned from driving for 12 months and given an 18 month community order. He was also ordered to pay £1,000 towards prosecution costs plus a £60 victim surcharge.
During the trial the court was told that Green, an ambulance worker for 30 years, was nearing the end of a busy night shift when he crashed.
Green, in evidence, said he was dazzled by the headlights of an oncoming vehicle and reacted by taking his foot of the accelerator and slowing down.
He said “I am absolutely 100 per cent sure that I didn’t nod off. I was dazzled. The lights were shining in my eyes. They were very bright lights.”
After the verdict Roy Foreman, in mitigation for Green, said “He is full of contrition and full of remorse. He has borne the burden of this case now for 15 months. There is nothing he can do or say which will change what happened.He is clearly a man who is held in high esteem by his work colleagues. He has given his life to the ambulance service.”
After the hearing, a spokesman for Green’s employers East Midlands Ambulance Service said: “We expect the highest possible standards from our staff. Mr Green was suspended from duty pending legal proceedings. Now he has been found guilty of driving without due care and attention, we will consider what level of disciplinary action is to be taken.”
Mrs Allsop’s family said afterwards: “Mum will be very sadly missed but we are satisfied with the outcome and want to express our thanks to the investigating team and the Crown Prosecution Service.”