Tiverton shop crash driver 'mistook brake for accelerator'

A driver who smashed into a shop after narrowly missing pedestrians in a busy Devon town centre had just passed his test, a court has heard.

Ben Harty, of Pugsley Road, Tiverton, lost control of his car in Tiverton in January - four weeks after his test.

Exeter Magistrates were told the inexperienced 18-year-old had mistaken the accelerator for the brake.

Harty admitted careless driving and was fined £200 with costs and had five points put on his licence.

Two people were treated at the scene of the crash for minor injuries, but no-one was seriously hurt.

Prosecutor Lyndsey Baker told the court the accident, on 16 January in Bampton Street, happened in the afternoon when children were leaving school for the day.

She said Harty, who had three passengers in his Vauxhall Corsa, was driving at about 30mph (48km/h) when it smashed into a parked Mercedes, before mounting the kerb and ploughing into the window of a toy and gift shop.

"Luckily it missed everyone that was there before it smashed through the front window of the shop," Miss Baker said.

"Eye-witnesses said the car would have killed anyone if it had hit them."

Defence lawyer Vanessa Francis said her client had only been driving for four weeks and was inexperienced.

She said he pressed his accelerator rather than his brake by mistake and lost control of the car.

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