Coach crash disaster averted thanks to driver

A RECKLESS driver whose decision to overtake a slow car nearly had disastrous consequences has been fined.

Stephen Martin, of Helvellyn Road, collided with a coach on the A259 at Exceat when he tried to pass another car in his Ford Fiesta, despite driving in treacherous heavy rain.

The 46-year-old admitted driving without due care and attention when he appeared at Eastbourne Magistrates Court on Friday to plead his case.

The court was told that had it not been for the quick reactions of the coach driver, who steered his vehicle onto the verge, there could have been a serious accident.

Heather Salvage, prosecuting, said, “The weather was poor and there was heavy rain and road spray.

“He (Martin) decided to overtake and crossed the white lines and forced the coach into taking evasive action.”

She added that the two vehicles had still collided, with the mini-bus left with scratches down one side and Martin’s car nursing dents.

Defending himself, Martin said, “I checked the road ahead and it was clear. While trying to overtake, the car increased speed so I was unable to complete the manoeuvre.

“I saw the mini-bus coming over the hill and tried to get back in to my position but the mini-bus did not seem to slow down.

“It was a momentary lapse in concentration for which I am really, really sorry.

“This is the first time I have ever been in court and I have been a nervous wreck ever since waiting for this day. I am truly sorry.”

Martin, who works at a local church, read out a statement from his local vicar which praised his good character and generous, charitable nature.

Nevertheless, magistrates decided to fine Martin £150 and ordered him to pay court costs of £100. Five penalty points were also added to his previously clean licence.

The chairman of the bench said, “This was an unfortunately a lapse in concentration which could have led to a very nasty accident.”