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Harold Hill man with poor eyesight and no driving licence jailed for three years for dangerous driving

PUBLISHED: 16:37 14 September 2018

Robert Clarke has been jailed for three and a half years after crashing into two motorbikes on New Year's Day. Photos: Essex Police

Robert Clarke has been jailed for three and a half years after crashing into two motorbikes on New Year's Day. Photos: Essex Police

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A Harold Hill man with restricted eyesight who was driving without a licence when he crashed into two motorcyclists on New Year’s Day has been jailed.

Robert Clarke, 27, of Wigton Road, was sentenced to three and a half years in prison on Monday, September 10, after being found guilty of two counts of causing serious injury by dangerous driving and failing to stop at the scene of an accident following a trial at Basildon Crown Court.

He admitted at sentencing driving with no insurance or a licence and failing to stop after an accident, for which he received a two month concurrent sentence.

Clarke has been disqualified for 21 months plus a further five years after his release and will have to complete an extended driving test.

His licence was endorsed with points for driving without a licence and insurance.

At around 2.40pm on Monday, January 1, 2018, a Vauxhall Astra overtook a vehicle in Nags Head Lane, Brentwood, and crossed into in coming traffic before hitting two off-road scrambler bikes.

Both of the riders were thrown off their bikes and the Astra came to a stop on the wrong side of the road.

Clarke then approached one of the victims, who still had his helmet on, spoke to him briefly and then drove off with extensive damage to his car.

The victims, men aged 22 and 26, were taken to hospital by air ambulance.

One of the victims was unconscious and in a coma for almost four months. He is still undergoing rehabilitation for a life-changing brain injury, which restricts his movement, speech and memory.

He also suffered a smashed knee cap and serious injuries to his pelvis, legs and shoulders.

The other victim suffered a fractured pelvis and underwent surgery to have screws in his pelvis.

He continues to receive treatment for his injury.

Clarke handed himself into Romford police station at 5.40pm the day of the collision after abandoning his car.

Tests revealed his eyesight was below the level required to drive and could only see a number plate at 5.8 metres away rather than the 20 metres required.

Senior investigating officer, Det Sgt Adam High, of the Serious Collision Investigations Unit, said: “Clarke got into a vehicle without a licence and after getting annoyed with a careful driver, attempted to overtake it on the wrong side of the road and collided with two motorcyclists.

“He cowardly left the scene of the collision in a vehicle that was barely drivable and left two men laying on the road with serious life-changing injuries.

“Clarke’s eye sight has been proven to be so poor that his licence was later revoked by the DVLA. He still selfishly got into a car and failed to see two friends who were on a New Year’s Day ride together.

“I would like to praise both victims for their courage and determination to try and overcome the injuries Clarke inflicted on them. I would also like to praise the families of the victims who gave moving statements in court. I hope this outcome offers some justice to the victims and their families.”

If you are worried about your own eyesight and how it might affect your driving, or someone else’s, you can call 101 and ask for our South Woodham Ferrers Roads Policing Team, who can arrange a home visit.

For more information on how your vision can affect your driving, you can visit the DVLA website on www.gov.uk/driving-eyesight-rules.

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