A FIREFIGHTER has been convicted of careless driving while on an emergency call-out.
Anthony Noble, who is based at Havant fire station, crashed into the side of William Nobbs’ car in Dunsbury Way, Leigh Park, in April last year.
Mr Nobbs had turned right to pull into his driveway, across the path of the fire engine. He told the court he did not hear the engine’s sirens or see the flashing lights.
Noble told Portsmouth Magistrates’ Court he believed Mr Nobbs had pulled over to let him pass. The accident happened in a split second and the Kia Picanto ended up on its side.
Noble and the rest of the crew had to rescue 78-year-old Mr Nobbs from the car.
He was taken to hospital but was not injured in the accident.
Magistrates yesterday found the firefighter guilty of careless driving in the first case of its kind in Hampshire.
But, because of the special circumstances, Noble was given a six-month conditional discharge and will not have any points on his licence. He must pay £800 court costs.
Speaking after the case Noble said: ‘I’m just glad it is finally over and nobody was hurt in the accident. I’m looking forward to moving on without this hanging over my head.’
The crew were on their way to a school after an automatic fire alarm went off. Since the accident Noble has chosen not to drive a fire engine.
An internal fire service investigation cleared Noble of any wrongdoing. He will now undertake a refresher course.
A Hampshire Fire spokesman said: ‘All Hampshire firefighters are trained to the highest driving standards and we take the safety of our personnel and members of the public very seriously.
‘Drivers of fire engines drive under difficult and demanding circumstances.’