A FORMER Bovey Tracey retained firefighter has been banned from driving after he drove his car onto a main road from a country lane without looking and caused a serious accident.

Retained firefighter and farmer James Zeale was exiting Marsh Lane onto the Exeter bound A 376 at a point where it is a dual carriageway just after the Clyst St George roundabout when he hit an Audi and injured the passenger. 

The female passenger broke ribs and a bone in her foot and was left bruised and in shock after the crash at around 6 pm on November 27, 2021. Another car was damaged in the accident but no-one else was injured.

Zeale, 36, of Marsh Lane, Clyst St George, admitted causing serious injury by careless driving and was ordered to do 120 hours unpaid community work by Judge David Evans at Exeter Crown Court. He was disqualified from driving for a year.

He is a former member of the Bovey Tracey fire station’s retained crew but will be able to carry on his work for the fire service because his farm is within running distance of the retained fire station which has moved from Topsham to the service headquarters at Clyst St George.

The judge told him: ‘You entered the road without stopping or looking properly and caused serious injuries to a passenger in another car. 

‘There is mitigation in that you have no previous convictions and the character references speak of you in glowing terms.’

Miss Beth Rickerby, prosecuting, said Zeale’s BMW left a farm lane and hit a car travelling towards Exeter on a short dual carriageway stretch of the A 376 Exmouth to Exeter road.

Mr Ryan Murray, defending, said Zeale has an otherwise unblemished driving record and wants to apologise for his actions. He farms the land near the junction and had cut back the hedge to improve visibility.