Ambulance driver spared jail over Abingdon crash death

Image caption,
Angus McCulloch admitted causing his death by careless driving

An ambulance driver who killed a mobility scooter user in a crash has avoided a jail term because a judge said he was an "exceptional individual".

Adrian Hesford, 64, died after he was knocked from his scooter in Abingdon, Oxfordshire, on 10 August 2018.

Angus McCulloch, 23, admitted causing his death by careless driving.

Judge Ian Pringle said he was taking an "exceptional course" by sentencing him to 180 hours of unpaid work.

Oxford Crown Court heard McCulloch was with a colleague in Culham, about two miles away from the crash, when they were asked to attend a high priority incident.

Prosecutor Richard Milne said the ambulance was travelling at between 34mph and 36mph when it hit Mr Hesford, who suffered multiple head injuries, on Stratton Way.

In a statement, Mr Hesford's family said they did not blame McCulloch for the "terrible accident".

Image caption,
The crash happened on Stratton Way in Abingdon

McCulloch also had 10 penalty points added to his driving licence.

Judge Pringle said he had taken character references and the statement from his family into account when passing the sentence.

He told McCulloch: "I know this incident will live with you for the rest of your life but I have taken this exceptional course because I believe you are an exceptional individual."

The court heard it had been a long-held ambition for McCulloch to join South Central Ambulance Service (SCAS), who currently works as an associate ambulance practitioner.

SCAS said it would be "reviewing the outcome" and McCulloch would "remain on non-driving duties until our internal processes have been completed".

"This has been a very difficult situation for everyone involved and we are thankful for the compassion shown to our member of staff," it added.

Nicholas Smith, defending McCulloch, said: "If he could turn back the clock he would.

"He is so sorry to have done the opposite of what he is trained to do and effectively what he dedicated his teenage and adult life to, saving lives."

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