Teenage motorist sentenced after hit-and-run crash on Dales road

York Magistrates' Court.

A teenage motorist left the scene of an accident after his van crossed a carriageway and hit another vehicle.

Max Percival, 18, from Hawes, was driving a Citroen Berlingo van which crossed into the opposite carriageway and crashed into a vehicle travelling in the other direction, York Magistrates’ Court heard.

The van, for which Percival was not insured, scraped along the side of the victim’s vehicle, causing extensive damage including to doors, a wing mirror and alloy wheel.

Prosecutor Alex Steadward said that Percival, a dairy farmer, had his full beam on when the collision occurred late at night at Temple Bank, Swinithwaite.

He drove off from the scene where the named victim was left “rattled” but unhurt.

The motorist was able to move their car a short distance up the road and called his wife and the emergency services.

His wife came to collect him and they recovered the vehicle from the road the following morning. They were said to be shocked at the extent of the damage.

When they returned home, they watched dashcam footage of the crash which showed that Percival didn’t appear to brake or make any attempt to stop.

The damage to the car, which had to be taken off the road, had affected their ability to run their holiday cottage business and the victim had to use a hire vehicle at a time when his wife was receiving cancer treatment.

The day after the accident, a police community support officer was patrolling in the area when he was flagged down by a member of the public who told him he had been woken by a loud noise at about 11.30pm the night before.

He said it sounded like the vehicle was in trouble and it came to a stop. A man then ran past his cottage to the next junction.

The following morning, the witness said he found a white van outside which had been “completely damaged”.

It had been driven some distance even though it appeared to be missing a front tyre. A Mercedes low loader was later seen picking the van up.

Police checks revealed that the van’s owner was Percival’s mother from whom he had apparently just bought the vehicle.

Officers later spoke to the defendant who said the reason he didn’t stop was because he “panicked”.

He claimed he had taken out temporary 24-hour insurance for the van after buying it from his mother.

CCTV footage showed that Percival had been inside a local pub between about 8pm and 10.30pm on the night of the crash, although he denied drinking alcohol before he got behind the wheel.

Mr Steadward said Percival was driving at an “excessive speed” on a narrow stretch of country road where traffic ordinarily slowed down.

Percival, of Gayle Lane, Hawes, ultimately admitted careless driving, failing to stop after an accident, failing to report the accident and having no insurance.

Leanne Robins-Hicks, mitigating, said the defendant had only passed his test about four months before the accident, which occurred at about 11pm on February 3 when he was on his way to see his girlfriend.

She added that Percival looked after 90 cattle and 500 sheep as part of his work as a dairy farmer in Northallerton.

Andrew McGregor, chairman of the magistrates’ bench, said Percival could easily have been locked up for “extremely serious” offences, but he had been saved by his young age, his personal circumstances and his hitherto good character.

“You were in a pub for two-and-a-half hours,” added Mr McGregor.

“You said you weren’t drinking – we don’t know. All we do know is that you continued driving this vehicle which was in very poor condition.

“You didn’t stop to see if you had caused injury to other parties, all of which you did without making an attempt to report this accident.”

Percival was given a two-year community order with 200 hours of unpaid work. He was ordered to pay £85 costs and a £114 victim surcharge.

He was also banned from driving for 12 months.


1 Comment

  1. What is the relevance of the miscreant’s job, and surely the person or people working in the pub would know whether he’d been drinking alcohol?

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