Food bank van crash: Man 'should not have been driving'

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image captionFive people were injured in the crash as they queued outside the Kirk Hallam Community Centre

A man who drove his van into people queuing outside a food bank had suffered a "partial seizure" and should not have been driving, a court heard.

Martin Casey, 38, was driving at 08:55 BST on 5 July last year when his vehicle veered off the road.

He struck five people outside the Kirk Hallam Community Centre in Derbyshire, injuring two of them seriously.

He was sentenced to two and a half years in prison at Nottingham Crown Court.

The court heard on Monday it was the third time in a month he had caused an accident after a blackout when driving.

Casey, of College Street, Long Eaton previously pleaded guilty to two counts of causing serious injury by dangerous driving and one count of dangerous driving.

Jeremy Janes, prosecuting, said Casey had suffered a serious brain trauma following a car crash in 2002.

Since then he had mistaken the blackouts and seizures for panic attacks, and was only recently diagnosed with epilepsy.

image copyrightDerbyshire Constabulary
image captionThe court heard Casey had caused accidents before after suffering blackouts while driving

About 20 people had been in the food bank queue on 5 July.

After the crash, some of them described Casey as being "unconcerned" and "very vague", said Mr Janes.

Another said he was "glazed" and more concerned about the condition of his van.

The court heard Casey claimed he swerved away from a child crossing the road, but witnesses said that was untrue, and Casey later admitted it was a "white lie".

'Same condition'

One woman fractured her neck, ribs and ankle in the crash, while another suffered a fractured skull and a bleed on the brain.

"She now suffers from seizures and has the same condition as Mr Casey," said Judge Timothy Spencer.

He said both women and others injured had suffered long-term effects and trauma from the accident.

The court was told Casey had crashed into the same community centre following a blackout on 26 June, and hit another vehicle while driving four days later.

image captionWitnesses described Casey as "vague" and "unconcerned" about the crash

David Outterside, defending, said Casey "regrets very much what happened".

"He should have better managed his injury and symptoms but crucially there was never a final diagnosis of epilepsy," he added.

Judge Spencer acknowledged Casey's history of partial seizures had gone undiagnosed, but said: "The more blackouts you suffered, the more clear to you it should have been that you should not have driven."

Disqualifying Casey from driving for three years, he added: "It is likely you should never ever again get behind the wheel of a vehicle."

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