Farm hand ploughs through road workers on his way to milk cows

Highways Reporters

A farm hand who drove through highways workers on a closed stretch of road as he made his way into work has pleaded guilty to dangerous driving.

Road workers were carrying out repairs overnight on the A35 near Honiton when Paul Guppy drove around trucks that were blocking the road and hit one operative who tried to stop his Audi.

According to a report in the North Devon Journal, Guppy drove for a short distance with the worker on his bonnet before stopping and turning back with his lights off.

He told the site foreman ‘I’ve got cows to milk, I don’t care about anything else,’ when he was asked what he was doing, Exeter Crown Court was told.

Guppy, who is in his 50s, of Charmouth, Dorset, was working as an agricultural engineer in Crediton but also had a second job as a relief dairyman at a farm near Honiton which he was heading to at 4am when he encountered the road which was closed for repairs.

He admitted dangerous driving and was banned from driving for 18 months and ordered to do 100 hours unpaid community work by Recorder Mr Aloysius Hughes, QC.

Mr Hughes told him: “This was a serious episode of dangerous driving. The road closure and diversion were in place for the safety of the workmen.”

Miss Janice Eagles, prosecuting, said the main A35 was closed near Black Sands Bridge at Wilmington for major overnight repair work in September and blocked off by signs and a truck parked across the road.

Guppy drove his Audi onto to pavement and back onto the road in two 90 degree turns to get past the truck and then went at about 30mph towards an area where 30 men were laying, checking and re-lining new tarmac.

She said: ”He drove along a stretch of closed road where a large number of people were working and this was extremely dangerous.”

He was stopped by one worker who stepped in front of his car to protect a colleague who was on their hands and knees checking the road surface.

Guppy edged forward, forcing the workman onto the bonnet briefly and carrying him along at low speed for a short distance before he was able to get off unhurt.

He then turned round and drove out with his lights switched off, but his number was noted and police informed.

Miss Eagles said: ”On the way back a member of staff named Nicholas George was by the truck and he tried to remonstrate with him. Guppy told him he had cows to milk and he did not care about anything else.”

He later told police he had not seen anyone working in the road and believed the tarmac had just been laid because it was still hot.

Miss Julia Cox, defending, said at the time Guppy was under stress because he was living a long way from his work as an agricultural engineer in Crediton as well as helping on a farm.

She said he has been suffering from anxiety, depression and mental illness and is now unemployed and living on £72 a week benefits because he can no longer drive to farms to carry out his normal work.
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