A VAN “flew across” a river before ending up on its side while a 14-year-old girl was travelling unsecured in the back.
Sean Anthony Gaunt, 26, of Heol Maelor, Coedpoeth, was driving past the Five Fords sewage treatment works on Cefn Road, Wrexham, parallel to the River Clywedog, when he lost control on a left hand bend.
His 14-year-old sister was in the back of the van when it left the road and ended up on its side on the other side of the river.
Wrexham Magistrates Court heard there was concern the girl could have suffered life-threatening injuries in the crash on March 6 but she was not seriously hurt and neither she nor the other passenger made a statement to the police.
Gaunt pleaded guilty to driving without due care and attention, using a motor vehicle without insurance, driving otherwise than in accordance with a licence and using a motor vehicle without properly securing cargo.
Magistrates’ chairman Ian Bellingham disqualified Gaunt from driving for 12 months and he was fined a total of £360 and ordered to pay £85 costs and a £20 victim surcharge, making a total financial penalty of £485.
Tracey Willingham, prosecuting, told the court Gaunt was driving at about 55mph when the crash happened.
She added the van had narrowly missed hitting “a substantial tree” before it came to a stop.
At the scene Gaunt told police: “It was all my fault. I was driving. I just lost it on a bend.”
And in interview Gaunt said he had seen people travelling in the back of vans frequently during his time working on building sites.
Alun Williams, defending, said Gaunt had received a phone call from his mother expressing concern about his sister’s whereabouts.
He went to locate her and, after finding her, did not have anywhere else in the van he could safely put her.
Mr Williams said the van had a heavy rear end and Gaunt was not used to driving it.
He added if he had taken more care the incident would not have happened.