COURT: Taxi driver with sleep condition caused head-on smash South Yorkshire road

Sheffield Crown Court.
Sheffield Crown Court.

A former taxi driver fell asleep at the wheel and swerved into an oncoming vehicle, a court heard.

Khalid Ali, aged 41, of Ramsden Road, Broom, Rotherham, was seen by a witness before the collision ‘swerving’ across the A628 Manchester Road near Penistone.

The smash on August 30, 2014, left Ali, who was later diagnosed with a sleep condition, and the victim with serious injuries.

Ali, who attended court supported by a crutch, has had to claim disability benefit but was said to be making progress with his recovery.

But the injured victim said in a statement he did not bear Ali any ill feeling.

He said: “Whatever happened to him on that day, I just want him to sort himself out to make sure something like this never happens again.”

Sheffield Crown Court was told after the crash, Ali was diagnosed with sleep apnoea when he was spotted falling asleep in the hospital waiting room for routine check-ups on his injuries.

Judge Mark Gargan said he took Ali’s condition into consideration but added he should have pulled over.

Alison Dorrell, prosecuting, said: “The defendant, who was driving a Volkswagen people carrier towards Penistone, was seen veering across the lane before the collision.

“The driver who was hit in the head-on collision was travelling in the direction of Manchester to play golf.”

The victim spent three weeks in hospital and his wife took three months off work to care for him. His recovery was described as ‘slow but steady’.

Andrew Smith, defending, said: “The driver of the other vehicle has a shown remarkable understanding despite receiving relatively serious injuries.

“It took so long to come to court because the police investigation could not find out what had happened and this is now clear because of Mr Ali’s condition.

“Phone and taxi computer records were checked and there was no evidence to suggest that he had been distracted or was speeding.

“Mr Ali acknowledges the serious injuries that he has caused and he is truly remorseful for what has happened.”

Judge Gargan said: “Your condition does go some way to explaining why the collision came about.

But you were seen swerving across the road before the crash and that should have been enough for you to do something, like pulling over.”

Ali admitted driving without due care and attention and was fined £250 and given an eight-month driving ban.