Drug driver caused head-on crash trying to overtake lorry on country road

A JUDGE has said it was “a miracle” that someone was not killed after a BMW driver tried to overtake a line of cars and a lorry on a country road near Stockbridge

Danny-Lee Mugridge was travelling on the A3057 Stockbridge to Romsey road on April 20, last year, when he caused a head-on collision with another vehicle.

The driver of the other car, Desmond Sturgess, suffered rib fractures and a wound to his arm.

Mugridge was under the influence of cannabis and had 7µg per litre of blood in his system – the legal limit is 2, which meant he was three and half times over the limit.

On Friday (June 4) Winchester Crown Court was shown video footage of the crash which captured Mugridge’s BMW colliding with the other vehicle forcing both into trees lining the road.

Prosecuting, Simon Foster said: “Mr Sturgess was horrified not just to see the defendant overtaking the lorry but also several vehicles.”

The 23-year-old pleaded guilty at an earlier hearing to dangerous driving, assault occasioning actual bodily harm as a result of the crash and drug driving.

In mitigation, Berenice Mulvanny said Mugridge’s life had taken a downward turn as his grandmother died in December 2019 and he was “consumed by grief”.

The court was told that he had begun self-medicating with cannabis and Ms Mulvanny said: “He was acting in a way that was not himself at a time when his mental health had significantly deteriorated.”

Ms Mulvanny added: “After the offence he contemplated suicide and was consumed by depression and isolation.”

Mr Recorder Michael Bowes QC, said that the A3057 is a single carriageway with a 50mph limit, and sentencing Mugridge he said: “You however driving a BMW approached behind a row of vehicles at speed and were seen on the footage to take over two to three cars as well as a third vehicle in one go.”

Recorder Bowles said to Mugridge that he was met with a “sweeping left-hand bend and therefore you could not have had a full view of the road ahead to ensure it was clear”.

He continued: “It was followed with Mr Sturgess’ car coming in the opposite direction and inevitably a head-on collision occurred.

“Mr Sturgess saw your vehicle and could not do anything to escape it – it must have been absolutely terrifying.

“It was a miracle that he was not killed.”

The Recorder said that Mugridge was ‘reckless and dangerous’ in his driving.

Mugridge, of Carpenter Drive, Amesbury, was handed a four-month prison sentence suspended for 12 months. He must also complete 150 hours unpaid work and 15 rehabilitation days.

He was also disqualified from driving for three years and must take an extended retest when reapplying for a driving licence.