Sunday, 24 January 2021

Taxi driver sentenced for death crash

A TAXI driver has been spared prison for killing a man in a crash.

Oritseweyinmi Pessu, 72, was driving Narendra Dang and his two grandchildren in his Mercedes E-class when he tried to overtake a stationary bus in Caversham, but instead went into the back of it.

Mr Dang, who was in the back of the car, suffered fatal head injuries. He was pronounced dead at the scene.

Pessu, of Blenheim Gardens, Wembley, was sentenced at Reading Crown Court on Monday after admitting causing death by careless or inconsiderate driving at Reading Magistrates’ Court last month.

The court heard the accident happened in Henley Road, near the junction with Micklands Road, at about 4pm on December 2 last year and involved a Thames Travel bus.

Christopher Hewertson, prosecuting, said: “Very sadly, it fell to a momentary lapse of judgement and a lack of spatial awareness.

“The Mercedes saloon was intent on overtaking but there was insufficient time. It was in the twilight hours and the children were in the back of the car.”

Christopher Martin, mitigating, described Pessu as a family man who had made sacrifices to provide for them.

He said: “He continues to demonstrate the most genuine remorse for the tragedy.

“While it is absolutely accepted that it is the family of Mr Dang that suffered the most as a consequence, it is right to say that Mr Pessu has genuinely suffered some psychological harm also.

“He will now see out the remainder of his days with the consequences of his actions.”

Judge Paul Dugdale sentenced Pessu to a 12-month community order, including 120 hours of unpaid work, and disqualified him from driving for 18 months. The taxi driver will have to complete an extended driving qualification afterwards.

The judge said Pessu had made an error in judgement.

“He was driving at 20mph when he drove into the back of the bus,” he said. “Mr Dang was in the back seat and was propelled forward into the rear of the passenger seat and instantly caused a fatal injury to his head.”

He said Mr Dang, whose wife of 38 years died last month, had been looking after his two grandchildren, aged five and seven, to help out his son.

The judge continued: “It is clear from everything I have read that time spent with their grandfather was something his two grandchildren valued. This was just an ordinary day and everybody was going about their ordinary life.

“He had said to his wife that he would be home for tea and, utterly tragically, he was not home for tea.

“Mr Pessu, a very experienced driver with a clean driving licence, made an error of judgement. There is some evidence that he may have pulled in at the last minute.”

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