An epileptic who ploughed into a couple’s Nissan while he was having a fit was likened to a ‘ticking time bomb’.

Jamie White, 37, had been warned by paramedics four months earlier that he should not drive. Called by the Bicester man’s dad after he had a fit at home, the paramedics urged him to contact the DVLA about his health condition.

Their advice was ignored by White, who claimed during his trial that he’d suffered a ‘nightmare about a crocodile’ at home rather than an epileptic fit.

On December 16, he was driving on the A4095 in Enslow, near Woodstock, when he suffered another epileptic fit at the wheel. He lost control of the car, colliding head-on with an elderly couple who were in their Nissan.

The driver of the Nissan broke his back and fingers. His wife suffered a ‘Hangman’s’ fracture of her spine, telling the defendant in a victim personal statement read to Oxford Crown Court on Friday morning: “He knew he suffered seizures. He could have killed us.” The crash left her an ‘emotional wreck’ and the incident had ‘completely ruined our lives’, she said.

Sentencing, Recorder John Bate-Williams said: “I understand that this was the first known seizure at the wheel but [with] your history you were a ticking time bomb and other road users were at risk whenever you chose to drive on the road.”

The defendant was found guilty in March of two counts of causing serious injury by dangerous driving.

“The present case is unusual because the dangerous driving on your part was represented not by deliberate bad driving, for example excessive speed or ignoring traffic signals, but by ignoring the clear instructions you had been given by the police and paramedics,” Recorder Bate-Williams said.

That instruction followed a 999 call-out to White’s family home in August 2018. The defendant’s father had called the emergency services after his son apparently suffered a fit.

After one of the paramedics said he should inform the DVLA about the fit, White stormed into his bedroom and threw his driving licence out the window. He drove off and was spoken to by the police on his return.

He later claimed not to have suffered a fit and told an expert neurologist that he had only had a nightmare about a crocodile after bingeing on alcohol at the Woodstock Festival the night before. 

On Friday, the judge described that claim as ‘dishonest’ and said White ‘deliberately ignored’ the advice of the paramedics.

But he suspended the two year prison sentence for two years, saying there was a realistic prospect White could be rehabilitated.

In mitigation, the defendant was said to be remorseful. He was of previous good character, had stopped driving and was in work. He had been injured in the crash himself and the three-and-a-half year delay had left him with anxiety.

White, of Merganser Drive, Bicester, was ordered to do 150 hours of unpaid work, a three month curfew and must pay £5,660 in compensation to the couple for lost earnings. He was banned from driving for two years and must pay £2,500 in prosecution costs.

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This story was written by Tom Seaward. He joined the team in 2021 as Oxfordshire's court and crime reporter.  

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