Watch as driver repeatedly blocks an ambulance on call in worst case ‘ever seen’ by emergency service

10 November 2022, 00:19 | Updated: 10 November 2022, 09:44

The red Suzuki overtaking the ambulance
The red Suzuki overtaking the ambulance. Picture: Thames Valley Police
Fran Way

By Fran Way

A man who deliberately and repeatedly tried to block an ambulance on the way to an emergency has been sentenced.

On February 2 this year, paramedics were driving along a main road in Reading responding to a 999 call of a man who had collapsed.

The driver of the ambulance had activated the emergency equipment which includes the lights and sirens.

They then overtook a red Suzuki Vitara which was being driven by Albert Butler.

Within seconds, he overtakes the ambulance – pulling directly in front of it and braking.

Driver seen blocking ambulance on call

The red Suzuki overtaking the ambulance
The red Suzuki overtaking the ambulance. Picture: Thames Valley Police

In shocking dash-cam footage shared by Thames Valley Police, Butler then continues in front of the ambulance along the A4 towards Maidenhead before he weaves in and out of traffic – which is stopping to let the ambulance pass.

Man overtakes cars which are stopping to let the ambulance pass
Man overtakes cars which are stopping to let the ambulance pass. Picture: Thames Valley Police

He straddles both lanes in an attempt to stop the ambulance getting around him and slows down again.

He straddles both lanes so that the ambulance cannot pass
He straddles both lanes so that the ambulance cannot pass. Picture: Thames Valley Police

Butler, 38, of Windermere Road in Reading was later arrested and charged with dangerous driving and obstructing/hindering an emergency worker.

At Reading Crown Court last week he was sentenced to eight months in prison, which has been suspended for 18 months. In those 18-months he must complete 200 hours of unpaid work.

He was also banned from driving for three years and ordered to pay costs of £600.

Investigating officer Sergeant Matt Cadmore of the Roads Policing Unit based at Taplow, said: “The manner of Butler’s driving was completely unacceptable. “In deliberately attempting to hinder the progress of this ambulance, he was putting other road at great risk, and at the same time, delaying an emergency vehicle en route to a medical emergency.

“This sort of behaviour on our roads will not be tolerated and we will take robust action against anybody who seeks to drive in this manner.

“Butler will have to complete an extended driving test at the conclusion of his disqualification in order to get his licence back, and has been given a suspended prison sentence, which will be enacted immediately should he be convicted of any other offences.

“When you see an emergency vehicle with blue lights and sirens activated, please allow them to pass when it is safe to do so.

“Seconds can make all the difference when an ambulance is on an emergency call, and the delays that Butler caused could have had significant impacts to the call that they were attending.”

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Mark Ainsworth, Director of Operations at South Central Ambulance Service NHS Foundation Trust, said: “This was the worst standard of driving suffered by one of our hard-working ambulance crews who were responding on blue lights to a potentially very serious emergency that I have ever seen.

“Our ambulance crews are highly-trained, able to safely drive at speed when necessary and I’m thankful that the vast majority of other road users are considerate when we need to travel on emergency lights.

“In this case, however, the senseless and irresponsible actions undertaken by the defendant put himself, other road users and our ambulance crew at risk of serious injury or even worse. I have been in touch with the crew and thanked them for maintaining their professionalism at such a distressing time.

“I would also like to thank Thames Valley Police for their help in bringing the conviction and taking a dangerous driver off our roads for the next three years at least.”

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