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Dangerous Driving?

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lonedad | 13:59 Thu 19th Feb 2009 | Criminal
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Hi all, Im new here and am getting desperate. Please read my story.
On the 24th August 2007, I became a father for the first time. I was overjoyed as I always wanted to be a Dad and now my dreams have come true. Then on the 11th September 2007, I was involved in a RTA on the M6 and everything was shattered. I was approaching a queue of traffic in the class 2 vehicle I was driving that day, on cruise control at 56mph. I approached a queue of traffic which was between 150 and 200 metres away. I realised it was a queue for an exit so decided to change lanes as I wasnt getting off the M6. I checked my mirrors and my blind spot and noticed a car overtaking me so I cancelled my decision to change lanes at the very moment and pressed my brake to switch off the cruise control to allow my truck to slow down naturally. My vehicle would not slow at all. All I could see was the white van that was at the back of the queue getting closer and closer. I kept applying the brakes but nothing happened. I then prepared to move my vehicle into the hard shoulder to stop it with the crash barrier whilst panicking a great deal. Next thing I know a blue car was in front of me, behind the white van, and I hit it as I steered my vehicle onto the hard shoulder. My vehicle then came to a stop about 500 yards from the impact site.

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My vehicle was impounded for police checks. Upon checking it, they discovered no faults. I even sent in an independant mechanic who said the same. It seems that I pressed the wrong pedal and hit the accelerator. I cant believe I did it, I really cant. Nearly 12 months later, I received a summons in the post telling me to turn up at court as I was being prosecuted for dangerous driving. During August last year, I attended the court and pleaded not guilty to dangerous driving. We tried to get CPS to accept a guilty plea to undue care and attention but they refused. I asked the magistrates to commit my case to crown court so I could be tried by a jury (something I really regret now). After 3 adjourments, I was asked to return to the magistrates court 2 months after the original date. They then committed the case to the crown court and I was given a date for early January. I then spent Christmas worrying about it.
Two weeks before the hearing (which was to enter a plea at the crown court) I was told by my solicitor that the judge had agreed that this was undue care and the CPS would accept a guilty plea for that charge instead. I wouldnt say I was on top of the world, far from it, but I saw light at the end of the tunnel. I turned up at the court only to be told that it was an "admin error" and that they were still going with the original charge. I was in a state of shock and cried in the court in front of everyone. I was then given a trial date which was 2 weeks ago. I turned up then only to be told that the judge went sick and my trial would be adjourned till the end of April!!!!
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Well, the panic and stress that I mentioned I went through during that accident has never disappeared. Its always remained, if anything its got worse. I cannot bear to drive and havent done so since the accident. I get anxious to the point of nauesia if I am a passenger, even on the bus. Im scared to cross the road!!! To make matters even worse, 2 weeks after the accident, my then girlfriend and mother to my little girl walked out on us leaving me and our daughter alone. She has never returned. She suffered greatly with post natal depression. I had to quit work (due to not only being a single parent but because I couldnt bare to drive anymore). I went bankrupt, lost our beautiful home and everything I had worked so hard to get. Then it took 4 months to get any benefits as my ex had already began a claim for child benefit before she left and hadnt cancelled it. This had a knock on effect with everything else. The charge itself hit me for six. I couldnt believe they were doing this, its been like a witch hunt. Unrelentless!!! All the adjournments have felt like torture and the last two have felt like theyve tormented me. I barely sleep but when I do the quality of sleep isnt good. There hasnt been a day that I havent had some kind of flashback or negative emotion about the accident. I feel so broken. I feel like ive let my daughter down because I had so many plans for us. I feel like i let her mom down because i may have spotted her depression if i wasnt so self obsesssed.
I went to see the doctor last September and he diagnosed me with post traumatic stress and depression. Herefferred me to a CPN. We talked about everything and even came to a fact that I never got over or even attempted to deal with past problems which are obviously still having a huge impact on my life. I was in the RAF for a number of years and witnessed and went through many many things that I just put to the back of my head because it was easier to do.
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After several months, she decided to get me assessed by a doctor at the local mental health team. I went there today and answered lots of questions. He then began trivialising it all, telling me that it was obvious that the past problems werent effecting me as in between those moments and the accident, I had carried on with my life normally. How can he come to that conclusion after 10 minutes? He knew nothing other than what hobbies I had and that my parents are still alive! I protested and he then said he would refer me but he doubts that I will be seen within 12 months. He went on to blame the goverment for cut backs. 12 months?? Ill be in a straight jacket by then!!!
As for support? I love my mom but she is beginning to get me down as well. Its always about how its effecting her. Its like emotional blackmail. Im always being told how this is affecting her. It always ends up me feeling bad for her. Ive gone as far now that I dont tell her how I feel, how im not coping too well and even court dates. The last court date, no one knew. I went on my own. I was actually going to go to trial on my own so that I didnt worry my mom!!!! All I want is for someone to hug me and tell me its ok. I havent cried for ages on someones shoulder, its always in the privacy of my home when my daughter is in bed! I always feel so guilty for those injured in the accident. Whenever I begin to feel sorry for myself, I end up thinking about how they must feel. Then I start getting angry because they cut me up. They dont remeber the accident you see so its only my word and my word is the truth. The company I worked for that day dropped me like a hat, friends have began leaving me because I dont go out anymore and have become "weird". Im so alone!!!!!!!
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This has ruined my memories of my daughters first 20 months of life. I was so excited at becoming a dad but all this has ran along side it and in a way become more important. I dont even know if ill go to prison for this. The depression has hit me hard and its taking over my life. The guilt I feel his unbelieveable, I cant understand how such a stupid mistake has had such huge impact on so many lives. Thier are so many more victims than just those two who got hurt. My Daughter, her mom, my family are all victims as well. Im fed up of it!!
I feel for you, everyone makes mistakes and this just so happened to have a lot of consequenses to it. I saw a man killed on a motorbike and could do nothing for him, it took me ages to get over it and I was traumatised by it for months and felt guilty that I couldn't save him. It will take you a while to move on from this and having this court case hanging over you is stopping you from starting the healing process. Your girlfriend had problems and yes, you might have been able to recognise these if you didn't have so much going on but don't beat yourself up about it. Just remember that you have a beautiful little girl who will love you no matter what and depends on her daddy to just love her back. You will get through this, be strong for the both of you, sending you a big hug x
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Thanks CAJ but I worry that my mistake may deprive my little girl of her Daddy because I could get locked up for this. The law doesnt allow for mistakes
Firstly, without being trivial, your feelings are entirely normal.

You have been through extreme life changes - lost your job, your partner, your home; you are stressed about the ongoing court case; you are dealing with the emotional aftermath of the accident.

I would be very surprised if you weren't feeling the way you do.

Contact Supportline - they may be able to help you
http://www.supportline.org.uk/

You need to believe that this very low period will pass and things will improve for you.
I will say that I honestly doubt you will go to prison, if the facts are as you describe.
I agree with Ethel, it wasn't a deliberate act and from what you've told us you can see it was an accident and the devastating effect it has had on you. The law does sometimes allow mistakes to be put to one side.

Could you go back to your doctors and tell them you can't wait 12 months, you need help now? Maybe they could give you something to help you. Try not to think of the what ifs and be strong for your girl and take one day at a time, you've not lost everything

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I just cant bare it anymore. The CPS are unrelentless, they dont give a damn. They are acting as if I purposely rammed the car. It makes me think that the prosecutor is emotionally involved. Even their and my expert wintness' have said its driving error.
Im feel so ill right now, Im just scared someone will take my daughter from me because of this. I really couldnt stand for that.
Nobody is going to take your daughter off you, so stop worrying about that right now.

It is not going to happen.
They're job is to try and make you out as the bad guy, don't rise to it. Can you talk to your solicitor about concerns you have?

Do you have a bit of spare time this afternoon? If you do, try to go out for a walk, take some deep breaths of fresh air and try to clear your head a little bit, it might help.

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If I sink any deeper then social services could get involved. They did when my daughters mom got ill.

The CPS will not even acknowledge my requests for a guilty plea to undue care when its obvious that this is the correct charge. The courts have made mess up after mess up but they are allowed to make mistakes and I am meant to put up with that. The courts also wont acknowledge my pleas to move this case to a court closer to home. I cant bare to travel but have to travel across the West Midlands and Wrwickshire to attned court. I havent got the money to do this either as Im unemployed. They are taking food from my daughters mouth. Im really struggling! Havent they punished me enough? Apparantly they charge you because its in the publics best interests, is this the publics best interests????
I will have a look on the internet this afternoon and see if there is anyone you can contact to voice your concerns to about the mistakes made and you having to travel. Try contacting Citizens Advice Bureau too as they may be able to help you both with this and financial matters. Try not thinking about it all in one go as it is too much to deal with, try to do it one thing at a time.

You are a fit father and social services will not take your daughter from you. They probably came round after your girlfriend left to check everything was ok. Try not to keep thinking like this.
lonedad, whereabouts do you live?
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West mids, why?
Just wanted to look and see if I can find anything helpful in your area that may help you. How are you feeling now?
http://www.cps.gov.uk/publications/communicati ons/complaints.html

You can write and complain about the way your case has been treated (postponing it, admin errors etc) and maybe get a letter from your doctor to say this is causing you a lot of stress and maybe they would do something. I'll keep looking.
I feel for you. Reading your thread I doubt if you will go to prison but no doubt you will always have the bad memory.
But, I have said this before on Answerbank, the Jews have a saying 'this too will pass'.
It is meant as a comfort during bad times and a warning during good times. But one thing is sure - one day this will have passed and you will be able to get on with your life.
I wish you well.
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Thank you all for your kind words. I really am trying to get through this. The last appearance at court, where the judge failed to turn up, really knocked me for 6. Although I was scared and very anxious, I ould see the light at the end of the tunnel and the thought of it all be over soon was getting me through but then the adjourment happened and I was left again.
I just do not understand why the NHS wont help me with my illness. They say the goverment does not see mental health as a priority. Frpm what I can see about mental health, this has so many knock on effects that this is one of the most dangerous and life threatening illness' in the UK. Apparantly, males in my age group have a higher suicide rate than anywhere else in the world!! SO why not help??

And CAJ, thanks for all your time doing research for me

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