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Jailed: Man who caused death of friend by driving into path of lorry

A motorist who caused the death of a friend when he drove into the path of an oncoming lorry has been jailed for 27 months. Sajid Ali, 30, had a mobile phone in his hand when he pulled the borrowed VW Touran in front of a truck on the A5 at Markyate. Chaudhry Ahmed, who was sitting behind the front seat passenger, was thrown from the vehicle by the impact, and died.

SEE ALSO: ‘He died because of my careless driving’: Man found guilty of causing death of his friend after he drove into path of lorry Last month, Ali from St Albans Road[1], Watford, was found guilty at St Albans Crown Court[2] of causing the death of his friend by dangerous driving. In the witness box Mr Ali said he was born in Pakistan and came to this country 8 and a half years ago and had leave to remain from the Home Office.

He was working part time in the Day One grocery shop and off licence in Watford at the time of the crash. Asked by his barrister Sam Parham to describe Mr Ahmed, he said: “He was a friendly person. I had known him for a year.

He came to the shop. We were really good friends. “I feel so bad because of the accident.

My friend passed away. I am feeling so sad for his family. They have lost a brother, son and husband.

I can’t express in words how I feel ashamed and sad. There is a hole in my life. He died because of my careless driving.

“I wish I could move back time to save his life.” The Touran, driven by the defendant and with three passengers, was going north to a cash and carry with the Daf Recovery truck heading south from Markyate to attend a call on the M1 when the crash happened at around 9 o’clock on the night of Friday 12 December 2014. The jury heard that as the two vehicles approached each other and were just yards apart, Mr Ali made a sudden right turn towards the entrance of the Esso Petrol Station forecourt.

Mr Ali, who denied he had been using the mobile phone, told the jury he pulled over to buy soft drinks from the petrol station. He said: “I indicated to go right. I went into the middle turning lane.

I saw lights from the front of me. I thought I had enough time to turn right. “I heard a bang and the airbag hit my face and I went unconscious.”

After the crash he said he went to where Mr Ahmed was lying. “A lady was there praying. She said don’t see him,” he said. Prosecutor Alan Blake said the manoeuvre took the Touran directly into the path of the truck and the driver did not have time to avoid the collision.

He said either he had been distracted and hadn’t been observing the road ahead and the truck bearing down on him as he made the right turn, or he did see it and took a chance thinking he could turn into the garage. Mr Blake said the manoeuvre he performed in turning right was highly dangerous and had crossed the road when it was not safe to do so. The jury was told a witness who got to the crashed car moments after the collision saw a phone which was lit up in the hand of the driver who was still behind the wheel.

A subsequent examination of the phone revealed that it was not being used at the time of the crash but, said the prosecutor, if the witness was right about the phone it could explain the inattention of the driver or it had hampered the driver’s ability to perform the right hand turn.

Judge Andrew Bright banned Ali from driving for three years 45 days – this is effectively a two year ban from when Ali is released from prison.

He must also take an extended retest before he regains his licence.

References

  1. ^ St Albans Road (www.hillingdontimes.co.uk)
  2. ^ St Albans Crown Court (www.hillingdontimes.co.uk)

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