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Court ruling allows young driver responsible for Durham accident to return to the road
A YOUNG electrician hopes a court ruling to reduce a driving ban could be the spark for him to find work again.
Jonathan James Turner, now 22, lost his job after receiving an 18-month disqualification when he was convicted for driving without due care and attention, on March 27.
It followed a two-day trial which ended with him being found guilty by North Durham magistrates, after he denied the charge.
It stemmed from a serious accident outside Sherburn Hospital, near Durham, on May 13, 2011.
Turner was at the wheel of a Volkswagen Bora which collided with a Peugeot 207, on the A181 near its junction Shincliffe Lane.
He was accused of overtaking recklessly, at a speed estimated between 60 and 70-miles per hour on a 40-limit road.
Victoria Lamballe told Durham Crown Court that on completing the overtaking manoeuvre the Bora collided with the Peugeot, which was turning right across the road.
The court heard the female Peugeot driver was airlifted to hospital suffering serious multiple injuries.
Both cars came to rest badly damaged on the roadside.
Turner, of Gore Hill Estate, Thornley, east Durham, was fined £180, with £200 costs and was banned from driving for 18 months by the magistrates.
Appealing against the sentence at the crown court, his barrister Joan Smith, said: “This incident terrified him and I’m sure he’ll not be back before the courts.”
She said some of his previous driving offending was, “misguided but unintentional”.
But she said the driving ban imposed in March resulted in him losing his job as an electrician, for which he could earn up to £400 a week.
Two subsequent job applications proved unsuccessful because he is unable to drive.
“It took him a lot of effort to get properly qualified as an electrician, but he has learned his lesson and is very sorry,” added Miss Smith.
Agreeing to cut the driving ban by a year, Recorder Bernard Gateshill, sitting with two magistrates, said: “We do consider this to be a most serious form of careless driving.
“It’s borderline between ‘careless’ and ‘dangerous’ and the disqualification was entirely proper, given the injuries to the other party.
“But we’ve heard it cost him his job and he’s now dependent on the state.
“He’s been off the road for seven months and we now think it appropriate to amend the disqualification to one of six months.”
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