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Carer who fell asleep at the wheel and drove into oncoming traffic escapes driving ban

Norwich Magistrates' Court. Picture: Denise Bradley.

Norwich Magistrates' Court. Picture: Denise Bradley.

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A 76-year-old carer who fell asleep behind the wheel on a late night drive and drifted into the path of an oncoming vehicle has been allowed to keep his licence.

Peter Beschorner had been driving on Heartsease Lane in the early hours of November 24 last year when he lost control of his Mazda and drove into a Ford Transit van coming in the opposite direction.

Kimberley Reeves, prosecuting, told Norwich Magistrates Court that the collision caused “substantial damage to both vehicles - both were written off.”

The court heard Beschorner, of Thunder Lane, has previous convictions for using a mobile phone at the wheel in December 2016, and for speeding in October 2017, giving him six points on his licence.

Appearing unrepresented, Beschorner told the bench he had been driving for 58 years without conviction, and he “could not account for the fact” he blacked out.

He said he is a carer for his wife and two children, and the day before had driven his partner to hospital at 4.30am when she suffered a “serious asthma attack”.

He added his two children were “very stressed out” by what had happened, and he had to “care for their needs as well as going backwards and forwards to the hospital”.

“By the evening I was very tired and stressed,” he told the court.

“I couldn’t get to sleep because I felt upset about what was happening. I decided I would go out for a drive - sometimes I find that clears my head. I did a short drive in the area of Thorpe St Andrew. As I was coming up Heartsease Lane I just blacked out. The next moment there was a terrible crash.

“I have got rib cage compression and I have been in pain since then. I lost my lovely car - that was a write-off. I have already suffered both physically and emotionally and I am also upset I caused inconvenience to the driver of the van. I am really relieved he did not have to go to see the doctor. The only injuries were self inflicted.

“It was a very traumatic experience that day.”

Beschorner was fined £130 with court costs of £50 and a victim surcharge of £30. He was given five penalty points.

After he asked the bench if the number of points could be amended, he was told he should “count himself fortunate” he had not been banned from driving.

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