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Last Updated: Monday, 4 June 2007, 17:36 GMT 18:36 UK
Death crash driver 'fell asleep'
Andrew Drage
In court, Andrew Drage denied having been too tired to drive
A man working 12-hour shifts fell asleep at the wheel of his car, killing a motorcyclist, a court has been told.

Andrew Drage, 45, of Skewen near Neath, was on his way to join his family at a caravan in Pembrokeshire when he crashed, Swansea Crown Court heard.

He denies causing the death of Raymond Freeman, 58, of Meidrim, near Carmarthen, by dangerous driving.

Giving evidence, he admitted falling asleep, but denied being too tired to drive. The case continues.

He told police five minutes before the crash at Kilgetty his body had "jumped" as if he had been nodding off.

But he said he thought he had dealt with the situation by turning on the fan in the BMW and blowing cold air onto his face.

Patrick Griffiths, prosecuting, told the court that Mr Drage, who calibrates computer controlled tools, had rented a caravan at Saundersfoot for the entire summer season and spent weekends there with his wife and two children.

I was only six minutes from the caravan. Only six minutes.
Andrew Drage

On Monday, 24 July, 2006, he had worked a 12-hour day, followed by 13 hours on the Tuesday and 14 hours on the Wednesday.

On Thursday, July 27, he began work at 0600 BST so he could leave early for Pembrokeshire.

Mr Griffiths said on the A477, close to Kilgetty, Mr Drage told police he recalled overtaking a people carrier.

After that he could remember a lorry flashing past, an airbag inflating and being showered in glass.

Mr Drage "waited for an impact" and collided with a barrier. Unknown to him, he had already hit Mr Freeman.

He said he walked back down the road and saw, for the first time, a motorcycle on its side.

Giving evidence on his own behalf, Mr Drage said: "I was only six minutes from the caravan. Only six minutes.

"When I saw the lorry I knew I was on the wrong side of the road. I did not know I had hit the motorcyclist. I didn't even see him."

Mr Drage denied being too tired to drive, but Mr Griffiths said he had "selfishly" overworked during the week just so that he could get away on the Thursday by lunchtime.




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