A selfish driver has been banned from the roads after intentionally delaying an ambulance on a 999 call.
Shocking video shown in court showed Albert Butler, 38, pulling out and braking in front of the emergency services vehicle on the A4 Bath Road in Reading towards Maidenhead, Berks, on February 2.
Appearing at crown court last Wednesday (Nov 2) Butler was ordered to complete 20 rehabilitation activity requirement days and 200 hours of unpaid work over an 18-month period.
He was also banned from driving for three years and ordered to pay costs of £600.
Footage of the incident that brought the case to court showed Butler being overtaken by an ambulance as he drove a red Suzuki Vitara. The ambulance driver had switched on the blue lights and siren, but Butler decided to pull out directly in front of the vehicle and brake – intentionally slowing it down.
The ambulance continued along the A4 after other members of the public pulled over to let it pass, but Butler proceeded to overtake the vehicles before slowing down again, blocking the ambulance’s path.
The 38-year-old obstructed the path of the emergency service vehicle again as it continued on to Wargrave Road by applying the brakes heavily, weaving into the centre of the highway, and encroaching on the wrong side of the road.
His reckless driving was captured on the ambulance dash-cam and partly recorded by a paramedic in the passenger seat on her phone.
The ambulance had been driving to go and help treat a collapsed man in Maidenhead, Berks. A subsequent investigation by Thames Valley Police saw Butler, of Windermere Road, Reading charged with dangerous driving and obstructing/hindering an emergency worker.
He pleaded guilty to both offences in a hearing at Reading Magistrates Court on August 10 and the case was adjourned for sentencing to Reading Crown Court on November 2.
Investigating officer Sergeant Matt Cadmore, of Thames Valley Police, said: “The manner of Butler’s driving was completely unacceptable.
“In deliberately attempting to hinder the progress of this ambulance, he was putting other road at great risk, and at the same time, delaying an emergency vehicle en route to a medical emergency. This sort of behaviour on our roads will not be tolerated and we will take robust action against anybody who seeks to drive in this manner.
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“Butler will have to complete an extended driving test at the conclusion of his disqualification in order to get his licence back, and has been given a suspended prison sentence, which will be enacted immediately should he be convicted of any other offences.
“When you see an emergency vehicle with blue lights and sirens activated, please allow them to pass when it is safe to do so.
“Seconds can make all the difference when an ambulance is on an emergency call, and the delays that Butler caused could have had significant impacts to the call that they were attending.”
Mark Ainsworth, Director of Operations at South Central Ambulance Service NHS Foundation Trust, said: “This was the worst standard of driving suffered by one of our hard-working ambulance crews who were responding on blue lights to a potentially very serious emergency that I have ever seen.
“Our ambulance crews are highly-trained, able to safely drive at speed when necessary and I’m thankful that the vast majority of other road users are considerate when we need to travel on emergency lights.
“In this case, however, the senseless and irresponsible actions undertaken by the defendant put himself, other road users and our ambulance crew at risk of serious injury or even worse. I have been in touch with the crew and thanked them for maintaining their professionalism at such a distressing time.
“I would also like to thank Thames Valley Police for their help in bringing the conviction and taking a dangerous driver off our roads for the next three years at least.”
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