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Watch the moment reckless driver tries to overtake lorry on A420


Jul 29, 2022

This is the dramatic moment a reckless driver tried to overtake Paul Horsfall’s tanker on the A420, mistimed the manoeuvre and skidded off the road.

Bus driver-turned-trucker Horsfall, 44, found himself in the dock at Oxford Magistrates’ Court accused of driving his large Scania lorry dangerously on November 10 last year.

Prosecutors claimed he had deliberately squeezed out the overtaking driver’s Vauxhall Corsa by moving to the offside of the carriageway as the road went from two lanes to one near Kingston Bagpuize.

Peter Ryman, for the Crown, said: “This is a piece of driving that fell far below the standard of a careful and competent driver.”

Giving evidence in his own defence, Horsfall told the court that he thought he had seen a brick in the road and moved to the right to try and avoid it. The manoeuvre had appeared slow in the video, as there was a risk when moving liquid in a tanker that sudden ‘swerving’ movements could tip the lorry over.

Looking at the footage played to the court – captured on the dashboard camera in his own lorry – he accepted that there was no obstacle in the road.

He told his advocate on Wednesday: “I did check my mirrors [before moving to the right], but I couldn’t see anything down the side of me.”

Horsfall was asked whether he had deliberately swerved to the right in order to block the hatchback’s path.

“I never in my dreams would I do that. It’s dangerous driving and a lorry could be a lethal weapon,” he said.

He was asked: “After all this happened, how did you feel?”

“[I was] shocked, shaking, worried for the other driver,” the driver replied.

Horsfall maintained his account under cross-examination from the prosecutor.

Mr Ryman put to him: “What you did was try to stop this overtaking of a vehicle you had seen behind you conducting other overtakes. You closed off its space to the extent it ended up in the gravel.”

The defendant replied: “No, I would never do anything like that.”

The magistrates were told that Horsfall had started his career as a bus driver and had been driving lorries for ‘about 20 years’. He had no previous convictions.

Mr Ryman said the driver of the Vauxhall Corsa that crashed had been dealt with separately for careless driving. He had not engaged with the prosecution of Horsfall.

The justices acquitted Horsfall, of Odiham, Hants., of dangerous driving but found him guilty of an alternative charge of careless driving. The lorry driver had offered to plead guilty to careless driving at an earlier point in the proceedings.

He was fined £300, given five penalty points and ordered to pay £119 in costs and surcharge.

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This story was written by Tom Seaward. He joined the team in 2021 as Oxfordshire's court and crime reporter.

To get in touch with him email: Tom.Seaward@newsquest.co.uk

Follow him on Twitter: @t_seaward