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Jail for driver who dismantled braking system

There is 1 related update to this story

A man responsible for a collision in which a man suffered injuries likened to those of a bomb victim has been jailed for 10 months today.

Clive Pearce, 50, of Martock, was driving a 10-tonne Caterpillar Telehandler which ran over 27-year-old Liam Earle in Kingsbury Episcopi on Sunday 20 January.

Mr Earle remains in hospital 10 months later with catastrophic neck, back and pelvic injuries. His consultant had never seen injuries so serious or complex in 20 years’ experience.

Pearce accepted:

  • dismantling the vehicle’s braking system, leaving only the cable-operated handbrake as a means to stop
  • allowing Liam and a 24-year-old woman to sit in the bucket despite this being against the vehicle manufacturer’s guidelines and legislation
  • using the vehicle inappropriately to take signage down from height
  • driving it on the road knowing he had no insurance in place
  • that driving the vehicle in such circumstances was dangerous, and that the vehicle itself was in a dangerous condition.

In court he admitted dangerous driving causing serious injury and driving without insurance at the first opportunity. The court heard that he is well-respected in the community and was helping out a friend before Liam and the woman insisted on getting into the bucket.

As well as the 10-month prison term, Pearce was banned from driving for two years and five months, must complete an extended retest and pay a £170 victim surcharge.

Agricultural vehicle road safety and compliance officer PC Daniel Cox investigated the case.

He said: “Pearce took an unsafe vehicle out onto the road for a use for which it was not intended – working at height – as a favour to a friend. He allowed two people who had been drinking in the pub to ride in the bucket. He and Liam will now have to live with the consequences for the rest of their lives.”

He added: “The farming community are uniquely entrusted to maintain their vehicles in a roadworthy condition without the requirement for an MOT, unlike other road users who must test their vehicles annually.

“Most people working in agriculture take their responsibilities seriously, but this should be a wake-up call for those who have little regard for safety, whether their own or others, on the farm or on the road.”

PC Cox continued: “Avon and Somerset police work with the farming community through farm safety events and roadside intervention. I’d ask anyone unsure of the requirements to seek advice and ensure they have safe working practices in place.”

There’s information on safe working practices on the Health and Safety Executive website or from organisations like the National Farmers’ Union.