Motorist jailed for causing the death of his friend by dangerous driving - Markyate

03/02/2017

A motorist, who caused the death of a friend when he drove into the path of an oncoming lorry, was jailed for 27 months today, Friday, 3 February 2017.

Sajid Ali, aged 30, had a mobile phone in his hand when he pulled the borrowed VW Touran in front of a truck on the A5 at Markyate.

Chaudhry Ahmed, who was sitting behind the front seat passenger, was thrown from the vehicle by the impact, and died.

Last month, Ali, from St Albans Road, Watford, was found guilty at St Albans Crown Court of causing the death of his friend by dangerous driving.

In the witness box Ali said: "I feel so bad because of the accident. My friend passed away. I am feeling so sad for his family. They have lost a brother, son and husband. I can't express in words how I feel ashamed and sad. There is a hole in my life. He died because of my careless driving. I wish I could move back time to save his life."

The Touran, driven by Ali and with three passengers in it, was going north to a cash and carry with the Daf Recovery truck heading south from Markyate to attend a call on the M1 when the crash happened at around 9 o'clock on the night of Friday, 12 December 2014.

The jury heard that as the two vehicles approached each other and were just yards apart, Ali made a sudden right turn towards the entrance of the Esso Petrol Station forecourt. Ali, who denied he had been using the mobile phone, told the jury he pulled over to buy soft drinks from the petrol station.

Alan Blake, prosecuting for Thames and Chiltern Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) said the manoeuvre took the Touran directly into the path of the truck and the driver did not have time to avoid the collision. He said either Ali had been distracted and hadn't been observing the road ahead and the truck bearing down on him as he made the right turn, or he did see it and took a chance thinking he could turn into the garage. Mr Blake said the manoeuvre he performed in turning right was highly dangerous and had crossed the road when it was not safe to do so.

Judge Andrew Bright QC told Ali: "I have no doubt at the time you had your mobile phone in your hand and were preparing to use it. As a result, you were distracted and did not see the recovery truck coming towards you." He said the brother of Mr Ahmed, who was married but had no children, described his death as a "nightmare that will never end."

The Judge said: "You made a dreadful, dreadful decision, which had horrific consequences."

In addition to the custodial sentence, the Judge banned Ali from driving for 3 years 45 days, effectively a 2 year ban from when Ali is released from prison. He must also take an extended retest before he regains his licence.

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