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Norwich driver who caused ‘catastrophic’ crash admitted drug driving just months later, court told

PUBLISHED: 15:16 02 November 2018

Ashley Gowland. PIC: Norfolk Police.

Ashley Gowland. PIC: Norfolk Police.

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A driver who caused a “catastrophic” crash when he overtook two vehicles on a blind bend and hit an oncoming car admitted drug driving less than six months later, a court has heard.

Norwich Crown Court. Picture Adrian Judd.Norwich Crown Court. Picture Adrian Judd.

Ashley Gowland, 25, had been driving his Honda Civic on the A1067 Fakenham Road at Guist from Fakenham towards Norwich.

He tried to overtake two vehicles, a lorry and a white Mercedes, but struck an oncoming Seat vehicle.

As a result of the impact a car with a young child in it, which was travelling behind the Seat crashed into it, causing the Seat vehicle to spin into the Mercedes.

Gowland’s front seat passenger suffered a fractured left knee cap as a result of the crash which also left Gowland with a broken right knee cap, six broken ribs and a fractured left wrist.

Norwich Crown Court heard the crash, which happened at about 4.15pm on February 8 this year, came just months before he was caught drug driving.

Dan Taylor, prosecuting, on Tuesday (October 30), said that in August the defendant admitted a drug driving following an incident in June.

He was banned from driving for a year after he pleaded guilty to having 800 mcg/L of Benzoylecogonine in blood. The specified limit of the drug, a component of cocaine, is 50.

Judge Andrew Shaw said this offence showed him that Gowland learned “not one jot” from the crash in February, which had a “catastrophic” effect on those involved.

He said it was only due to the capability of modern cars to absorb the impact of collisions that this crash was not fatal.

Gowland, of Hooper Lane, Norwich, who previously admitted causing serious injury by dangerous driving, was jailed for 14 months.

Judge Shaw also disqualified him from driving for four years and seven months.

The court heard that the driver of the lorry overtaken by Gowland described his driving as “absolutely disgraceful” and was “shocked” no-one died.

In a victim impact statement the driver of the Seat described how it was just “good fortune alone” that he did not suffer serious injuries.

Andrew Oliver, mitigating, said the incident was “clearly serious” as indicated by the defendant’s plea.

He said the incident was a “gross error of judgement” which was a “reckless rather than deliberate piece of bad driving by him”.

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