Taunton ex-pat banned from driving after head-on horror smash left him in coma

The scales of justice.

The scales of justice.

First published in Somerset
Last updated

A DRINK driver was left in a two-week coma following a head-on crash while driving on the wrong side of the road, a court heard.

Tony Locke, 48, was confused and drove on the right-hand side of the road when moving back to Taunton after living in France for six years.

His VW Golf smashed head-on with a Saab on an unclassified potholed road at Luppitt Common on the Devon-Somerset border in the early hours of the morning last August.

Locke, of Cheddon Road, admitted driving with excess alcohol at Exeter Magistrates' Court and was fined £205 as well as banned from driving for 14 months.

Prosecutor Lyndsey Baker said Locke was unconscious for a number of days as a result of the crash which left him with six broken ribs and a fractured neck. The couple in the Saab were also badly hurt.

She said it was an unfamiliar route and Locke was confused and drove on the wrong side of the road and collided with the Saab.

A blood sample was taken from Locke while he was unconscious shortly after the crash and he was just under the drink drive limit.

But an expert did a back calculation and concluded he was 1¼ the limit at the time of the collision.

Defending, Guy Adams said Locke was placed in a two-week long induced coma after the crash.

He said: “He has no recollection of the accident or a few hours before, such was the severity of his injuries. He remained in hospital for about a month.”

He said prior to the blood sample being taken he was given some morphine for pain relief and an expert tested that to see if would have affected his drink drive level.

However, Mr Adams said the morphine had no effect on the reading.

He said Locke had been living in France for the last six years with his family but his marriage had broken down and his family had returned to Britain.

Mr Adams said Locke was a “broken man” who had never been in trouble with the courts of police before.

He said the road where the crash happened was in a “poor state of repair” and there were many pot holes which forced drivers to cross the white lines to avoid hitting them.

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