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Indian-origin driver gets six-year jail term for pile up

London, Feb 13, 2013, (PTI) 19:01 IST
A drunk Indian-origin coach driver in the UK who had caused the deaths of two men in a horrific motorway crash last year has been jailed for six years.

Jasminder Singh Dhesi, 50, last month pleaded guilty to causing the deaths by dangerous driving on March 24, last year.

He was sentenced to six years in jail at the Birmingham Crown Court yesterday.

Passenger Liaquat Ali, 35, of Smethwick, died in the crash between junctions three and four while lorry driver William Mapstone, 65, from Somerset, later died in hospital.

Dhesi was also disqualified from driving for four years, to take effect from his release from prison.

The court heard Dhesi had been drinking high-strength lager before his un-roadworthy coach broke down three times on the motorway in the fog.

The coach, which was carrying 34 passengers, was eventually hit by a heavy good vehicle. The single-decker bus was carrying fruit pickers from Birmingham to Evesham in Worcestershire.

Birmingham Crown Court heard Dhesi failed a roadside breath test after the crash and was found to have 46 microgrammes of alcohol in 100 millilitres of breath, above the legal limit of 35 microgrammes.

But a test carried out a police station two hours after the crash gave a reading just below the legal limit and Dhesi was not charged with drink-driving.

At the sentencing hearing at the court, it emerged Dhesi was fined for drink-driving 12 years ago after falling asleep and crashing a bus into another vehicle.

Judge Michael Chambers expressed concern, while delivering the six-year jail sentence, as to whether the father-of-two was remorseful for his actions.

Judge Chambers said the accident on the southbound carriageway near Frankley Services had been entirely avoidable.

"Travelling on the motorway as you did clearly caused a substantial risk to other road users and also the passengers on your bus," he said.

"The aggravating features are the degree of risk that you created, having regard to the road conditions and the size of your vehicle, and that two deaths have been caused.

There is also an aggravating feature in that you were driving under the influence of alcohol," the judge said.

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