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Dozed-off M-way crash driver jailed

Date published: 06 January 2014

An Oldham security guard who crashed a minibus full of colleagues and seriously injured two after falling asleep at the wheel has been jailed for seven months.

Mark Nicholson (35), a father of three of Abbeyhills Road, was driving 15 people to work as security officers at an Olympic sailing event when he dozed off on the busy M40.

Oxford Crown Court heard the 16-seater coach veered towards the central reservation of the southbound carriageway between Gaydon and Banbury.

A front-seat passenger grabbed the wheel and Nicholson responded by grabbing it back - sending the bus on to the hard shoulder before it rolled several times, the court heard.

“All the passengers and the defendant suffered injuries, from minor to very serious,” said Robert Spencer-Bernard, prosecuting. “Two passengers suffered long-lasting, serious injuries which will affect them for the rest of their lives.”

Nicholson initially told police he could not remember whether he had “dropped off” or had been scratching his eye.

As he didn’t hold a licence for the vehicle he was driving he was charged with driving dangerously, driving without insurance and driving outside the terms of his licence, which he admitted at an earlier hearing.

Judge Patrick Eccles said the accident was caused by “a serious loss of concentration on your part, when almost certainly you fell asleep.”


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