A SECURITY guard who fell asleep at the wheel while taking colleagues by minibus from Wigan to the Olympics has been jailed.
A court heard that two of Mark Nicholson’s 15 security officer passengers were seriously injured in the smash on the busy M40 in Oxfordshire. They had been en route to the sailing regatta at Weymouth, Dorset, on June 9 2012 when the 16-seater coach veered towards the central reservation of the southbound carriageway between Gaydon and Banbury.
Oxford Crown Court heard that a front-seat passenger grabbed the wheel and Nicholson, now 35, responded by grabbing it back, causing the vehicle to swerve onto the hard shoulder before rolling it several times, the court heard.
Nicholson, of Abbey Hills Road, Oldham, initially told police he could not remember whether he had “dropped off” or had been scratching his eye.
The court heard he had been travelling at an average speed of 74 miles per hour, but one passenger claimed it had been much faster at times. As he did not hold the required licence for the size of vehicle he had been driving, he was charged with driving dangerously, driving without insurance and driving otherwise than in accordance with a licence, which he admitted at an earlier hearing.
Judge Patrick Eccles sentenced him to seven months in prison, disqualified him from driving for three years, with no order for costs or compensation made.