Head-on crash driver from Great Yarmouth fined at court

A careless driver whose car crashed head-on with an oncoming vehicle after aquaplaning across a partially flooded road has been fined by Norwich magistrates.

Geoffrey Riches, 62, who pleaded guilty to driving without due care and attention yesterday, was driving a Ford Focus on the A146 at Bergh Apton towards Thurton when the accident happened just after midday on July 16.

Prosecutor Richard Paterson said that Riches' car pulled out into the path of a Ford Fusion whose occupants were injured in the crash.

He said: 'He failed to appreciate that vehicles in front had slowed and stopped for a vehicle in front to turn right.

'He braked and skidded, colliding with a Ford Focus's offside door that was in front of him, then colliding head-on with an oncoming Ford Fusion.

'The Ford Focus was damaged to its offside front and rear doors, but its occupants were uninjured.

'The Ford Fusion was extensively damaged to its front; its occupants receiving chest pains and broken ribs.'

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Mr Paterson said that it was daylight at the time of the crash, but it was raining heavily and the road surface was wet.

Riches, from York Road, Great Yarmouth, represented himself in court, and said he had not driven since the accident, and doubted whether he would ever get behind the wheel again.

He said: 'A driver made a rash decision in front and I had to brake as the car immediately in front slid sideways across the road. 'I aquaplaned across the chevron lines as the road was partially flooded. The oncoming vehicle hit me.

'I feel eternally guilty for the other people injured, and I wish to say sorry for what happened and offer my sincere apologies, especially to my wife, who was with me in the car and broke her wrist, but who, thankfully, does not hold me responsible for what happened.'

Mr Riches, who owns his own business as a hearing aid audiologist, said he spent 30 days in hospital after the crash, and sufferered a broken nose, cheekbone, knee and foot, and said it would take seven month to recovers.

'It will take me many years, if ever, to get over this,' he said.

He was fined �110, plus a �15 victim surcharge, but no order for costs was made.

His licence was endorsed with five points.