A Mildenhall driver who crashed into a lamppost after losing control of his car has been slapped with fines and points on his licence.
Graham Boldy, 53, was embroiled in an argument with his partner while driving home from Eriswell when she began opening and closing the car door.
The wheelchair user, who drives a mobility adapted car, lost control of the steering wheel of his Ford C-Max and crossed the other carriageway before colliding with a lamppost.
Boldy, of Lime Close, Mildenhall, appeared before magistrates in Bury St Edmunds on Tuesday (January 12) and pleaded guilty to careless driving.
He had previously appeared in court charged with dangerous driving, to which he pleaded not guilty. The charge was later amended.
Prosecuting, Jane Foster said Boldy and his partner, Susana Silva, had been about to leave an auction at Eriswell Barns on May 23, 2015 when an argument broke out.
The couple continued to argue on the drive home, with Ms Foster saying Boldy became more ’frustrated’ during the argument and suggesting the exchanges were ‘heated’ throughout.
Boldy estimated he was travelling at between 45mph and 50mph while nearing a roundabout in Field Road when Ms Silva started to open the front passenger side door, then closed it again. She repeated the action once, said Ms Foster.
“Due to the fact that his car is altered for him, the steering jerked and he hit the nearside curb and was unable to correct the steering, which caused him to leave the road and collide with the lamppost,” said Ms Foster.
“He accepts that his driving on that day was careless and he should have stopped driving at the point when Ms Silva was trying to open the car door.”
Mitigating, Joe Bird said that it was a ‘fairly significant argument’ in the couple’s relationship.
They had formed a romantic attachment while Ms Silva was working as a carer for Boldy, who suffers from diabetes, but at the time the relationship was going through a ‘bad patch’ and was ‘on the verge of ending’, said Mr Bird.
“It was a particular argument with particular concerns in Mr Boldy’s mind,” he added.
Giving evidence, Boldy said he believed his partner may have been suffering from anger and depression, although nothing had been diagnosed.
“I was very scared, I thought she was going to get out of the car,” he said.
Mr Bird said there was ‘no mention’ of Ms Silva trying to get out of the car and that Boldy was aware he should have stopped, adding: “Put out of your mind the suggestion that Mr Boldy might have tried to do this deliberately.”
Boldy was ordered to pay a £535 fine, plus £85 costs to the court and a £54 victim surcharge, and his driving licence was endorsed with five penalty points.