Driver jailed for taxi crash

Pop­u­lar cab­bie died in ac­ci­dent

Llanelli Star - - FRONT PAGE - Robert Dalling 01792 545545 [email protected]­

A MAN who had drunk al­co­hol and taken co­caine at a night­club killed a taxi driver in a head-on crash after be­ing per­suaded to give a friend a lift.

Peter Morgan Salmon died after a two-ve­hi­cle crash on the A484 be­tween Car­marthen and the vil­lage of Cwmf­frwd in the early hours of Au­gust 12 last year.

Mr Salmon had been at the wheel of a Toy­ota Aven­sis when 25-year-old Gareth James-An­der­son’s Volvo V50 veered into the wrong lane and ploughed head-on into his ve­hi­cle.

Mr Salmon, aged 64, was fa­tally in­jured and was pro­nounced dead in hos­pi­tal a short time later.

Pros­e­cu­tor John Hip­kin told Swansea Crown Court that James-An­der­son had been to Sa­van­nah’s night­club in Car­marthen where he had drunk al­co­hol, orange juice, and grena­dine and taken a quar­ter of a gram of co­caine. He took a taxi home but later was per­suaded to get in his car and give a fe­male friend a lift home, the court heard.

After drop­ping her off, James-An­der­son later col­lided with a ‘keep left’ bol­lard on the ground be­fore driv­ing head-on into the path of Mr Salmon.

He was ar­rested at the scene by po­lice and later tests found he had 65mg of al­co­hol in his sys­tem – al­most twice the le­gal limit.

A spec­i­men blood taken found co­caine in his sys­tem. Dur­ing a po­lice in­ter­view James-An­der­son said he was try­ing to avoid a pud­dle on the road and that he “didn’t think he could have done any­thing dif­fer­ently”.

A col­li­sion in­ves­ti­ga­tor found the pud­dle could have been avoided and the car could have re­turned to its ap­pro­pri­ate lane with 13cm to spare, the court heard.

James-An­der­son of Ystrad Drive, John­stown, Car­marthen, pleaded guilty to a charge of caus­ing death by dan­ger­ous driv­ing.

In­spec­tor Do­minic Jones read out a vic­tim im­pact state­ment on be­half of Mr Salmon’s nieces, Rhi­an­non and Re­becca, which said: “The tragedy of Peter’s death has dearly af­fected his fam­ily, friends, and the en­tire com­mu­nity.

“He was an ex­tremely kind-hearted man and a much-loved mem­ber of the com­mu­nity.”

Mit­i­gat­ing, James Hart­son said: “He finds him­self not wor­thy of any help or com­pas­sion and wants all the sym­pa­thy to go to the fam­ily and does not seek any for him­self.

“Some au­thors of his tes­ti­mo­nial de­scribe him as be­ing a bro­ken man and in de­spair. It was a lapse of judge­ment and he be­lieved fool­ishly he was okay to drive.

“He did the right thing ini­tially be­cause he took a taxi from the club and he re­acted fool­ishly to a re­quest for a lift from a friend.”

Judge Keith Thomas said: “Hu­man life can­not be re­stored. No pun­ish­ment im­posed can help the fam­ily or cure their an­guish. The dev­as­tat­ing im­pact by his loss is in­cal­cu­la­ble.”

James-An­der­son was jailed for 63 months. He has been banned from driv­ing for seven years and eight months.

Tem­po­rary sergeant Sara John, of the se­ri­ous col­li­sion in­ves­ti­ga­tion unit, said after the case: “The de­fen­dant’s ac­tions that morn­ing put his own life, and the lives of oth­ers, at risk, and had dev­as­tat­ing con­se­quences.”

Gareth Thomas James-An­der­son has been jailed for 63 months after plead­ing guilty to caus­ing death by dan­ger­ous driv­ing fol­low­ing a crash on the A484 be­tween Car­marthen and Cwmf­frwd.

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