Sleeping driver crashed with child in back

Naheem Ahmed blamed long hours and early starts for falling asleep at the wheel. Picture: Alexander Lawrie
Naheem Ahmed blamed long hours and early starts for falling asleep at the wheel. Picture: Alexander Lawrie
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A DRIVER who fell asleep at the wheel with his child in the back seat before crashing into a parked van has been jailed.

Shopkeeper Naheem Ahmed dozed off before ploughing his vehicle into the back of parked Transit van as he drove with the young passenger during an afternoon trip.

The 35-year-old blamed early starts and working long hours at his father’s shop for the smash on a country road near Musselburgh.

Haddington Sheriff Court was told concerned residents rushed out to help the man and the child after hearing the crash from their homes in December last year.

Depute fiscal Brent Bissett said: “There was substantial damage to the accused’s vehicle and the airbags had been deployed.

“Various people then spoke to the accused and he said he was the driver and it had been an accidental collision. Police were then contacted and attended and he told officers he had fallen asleep at the wheel. He said he was just tired.”

Ahmed admitted to driving a vehicle dangerously, falling asleep at the wheel, losing control of the vehicle and colliding with a vehicle when he appeared in court yesterday.

Ahmed’s solicitor said his client had “assumed he must have fallen asleep” as that was the only explanation he could come up with to account for the crash.

He added: “He had been helping out at his father’s shop and that necessitated very early start and long hours. That must have attributed to what occurred.”

Sheriff Peter Braid sentenced Ahmed to three months in prison for the dangerous driving offence and banned him from the roads for three years.

Ahmed also appeared in the dock to face a charge of assaulting his estranged wife in her home in Musselburgh on February 6 this year.

The court heard Ahmed turned up at the woman’s home on three occasions on the same night and on the final occasion allowed himself into the home just before midnight.

Ahmed burst into the woman’s bedroom in a bid to speak to her about a possible reconciliation, but he soon became abusive towards her and neighbours were forced to call 999.

Sheriff Braid said the incident must have been “extremely distressing and alarming” for the woman and sentenced Ahmed to a further six months in prison.

He also received an additional two-month sentence for failing to appear for a previous court appearance due to his “fairly chaotic” lifestyle.

Ahmed, who appeared from custody after receiving a previous custodial sentence, was jailed for a total of 11 months, which will run consecutively to his current sentence.