Church Organist Sentenced For Falling Asleep On Wheel Chair
The soothing tones of Classic FM can be soporific at the best of times, as church organist Rosie Bryant knew only too well landing herself on unexpected sentence.
But the 55-year-old will rue the day she inexplicably decided to switch her radio to the station that “normally sent her to sleep” as she headed home from a five-mile walk around Derwentwater in the Lake District whilst feeling unusually tired.
Bryant, a mother-of-four of previously “unblemished character,” nodded off at the wheel, swerved across a busy road and collided with a road sign.
Fortunately, there were no other vehicles in her path. But the mistake led to a criminal conviction, tarnishing her reputation and ruining her hopes of becoming a church deacon.
The piano teacher was sentenced to 80 hours’ unpaid work, banned from driving for a year and ordered to take an extended test.
Bryant admitted dangerous driving when she appeared at Carlisle Crown Court.
The court heard that she was lucky to be alive after her Vauxhall Corsa veered across the well-used A595 at Mealsgate in Cumbria on June 28.
Beccy McGregor, prosecuting, said Bryant admitted she had struggled to stay awake that day “since she woke up”.
After her Lake District walk, she had eaten some food before embarking on the 34-mile journey back home to picturesque Port Carlisle on the north Cumbrian coast.
“She realised she was tired, and this would allow her to concentrate, keep her alert while driving.”
But having decided against stopping for a coffee, she closed the windows and made the “mistake” of switching to Classic FM.
“She knows Classic FM is the type of music that would normally send her to sleep,” Ms McGregor told the court.
Mrs Bryant dozed off for “one to two seconds”, before being jolted awake by the 30mph impact.
At 4.22pm, she called 999 to report being involved a crash and was “very co-operative,” telling an operator she had “swerved across the road” and hit a sign after falling asleep.
Her car was a write-off, no other vehicles were involved but members of the public had stopped to help, the court heard.
Mark Shepherd, defending, said the impact of a mandatory driving ban would be “significant” as Port Carlisle was served by only two buses.