Wrong-way driver jailed for causing fatal collision

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Wrong-way driver jailed for causing fatal collision

7th March 2012

The man who caused a fatal road collision when he drove his car the wrong way along the A30 dual carriageway has been jailed for eight years.

A court heard yesterday (Tuesday 6 March) how David Rushbrook, 27, of King's Lynn, Norfolk, had performed a U-turn in order to return to a garage he had passed before the crash in Cornwall in October 2010.

He collided with the Mercedes car being driven by Nicholas Rowles, seriously injuring Mr Rowles and killing his partner Margaret Connelly, who was a front-seat passenger.

Martin James, a serious injury specialist with Fentons Solicitors LLP, is representing Mr Rowles, who remained in hospital for three weeks after the incident. “The court in Truro heard how the driver had taken a drug called ketamine, ordinarily used as a horse tranquiliser,” said Mr James, a partner with firm. “The Judge himself said that was a catastrophic decision which had a massive impact on all those involved."

The incident occurred between Highgate Hill and Victoria near Bodmin, and both carriageways of the stretch of road were closed for 13 hours whilst emergency services cleared the scene and police carried out their investigations at the scene.

“Others were seriously injured in the collision, including Rushbrook’s own passenger and a couple in a Nissan Micra,” said Mr James. “The Judge described Rushbrook’s belief that he was driving on a single carriageway when he decided to drive back towards the garage as ‘mystifying’.”

The court heard how the combined impact speed between the two vehicles was between 130 and 140mph.

Rushbrook was given credit by Judge Philip Wassall for his late guilty plea to having caused death by dangerous driving. “Until the court hearing, we were unaware that Rushbrook had been impaired by drugs, or had previous convictions - including two disqualifications for drink driving, one from 2006 and another from 2008,” said Mr James. “Now that the full details of the circumstances of this tragic event have been noted in court, it is hoped that we will be able to quickly resolve the case against his insurers.”

Judge Wassall said Rushbrook's judgement must have been impaired by tiredness - either because he worked before embarking on a long journey, or as a result of the drug ketamine. Rushbrook was banned from driving for 10 years and until he passes an extended driving test.

“Mr Rowles has lost his partner to this dreadful, horrifying incident,” said Mr James.  “While no court decisions can undo that, we nevertheless hope that the verdict will help bring some sense of justice to all those affected, and we will continue the fight to hold to account those responsible for causing this tragedy.”

Read more at:  BBC