Driver jailed for taxi crash
Popular cabbie died in accident
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.