Burgess Hill motorbiker in Hassocks crash was 11 times over the limit

A Burgess Hill motorbiker who crashed in Hassocks was 11 times over the drug-driving limit.

Thursday, 18th February 2021, 5:12 pm

Neil Freeman had gone for a ‘quick ride’, having not ridden his black Suzuki for some time, when he suffered serious injuries in the crash on May 17, police said. After attempting to overtake a van travelling northbound on the A273 London Road, he crashed into the side of black Nissan Qashqai which was turning right into a garden centre.

The person in the Nissan was uninjured – despite the vehicle sustaining extensive damage – however the incident has had a significant effect on him.

A police spokesman said: “The force of the impact caused Freeman to be thrown from his motorcycle into the opposite carriageway. He suffered serious leg and head injuries, and was taken to hospital for treatment.

The scene of the crash

“Freeman provided a sample of blood which revealed he had 565mcg of benzoylecgonine (the main metabolite of cocaine) per litre of blood in his system. The legal limit is 50mcg.”

The 42-year-old, of The Acorns, Burgess Hill, pleaded guilty to drug driving, and at Crawley Magistrates’ Court on February 3, he was banned from driving for 12 months, said police. He was also ordered to pay a £120 fine, £85 costs and a £34 victim surcharge.

Investigating officer, Sergeant Stacey Ellott, of the Sussex Roads Policing Unit, said: “It is clear that Freeman had a hugely significant level of drugs in his system, which may well have contributed to the collision.

“He failed to see the dangers on the road ahead of him, and as a result he crashed into a car and seriously injured himself. It is extremely fortunate he did not kill himself or someone else that day.

“Even a small amount of alcohol or drugs in your system can seriously impair your ability to drive safely, and that’s why there are very strict legal limits. If you’re caught driving while over the limit of drink or drugs, you can expect to face the full force of the law.

“These laws are in place to protect everyone, and we will continue to enforce the law as we strive to reduce the number of people killed or seriously injured on our roads each year. Our priority is to keep everyone safe on our roads, and to deal robustly with those who compromise the safety of themselves and others.”

Police said the consequences of driving under the influence of drink or drugs could include the following:

Killing or seriously injuring yourself or someone else;

A minimum 12 month ban;

An unlimited fine;

A possible prison sentence;

A criminal record, which could affect your current and future employment;

An increase in your car insurance costs;

Trouble travelling to countries such as the USA.

The spokesman added: “People in Sussex can text officers on 65999 with the details of people they suspect of drink or drug-driving, or visit the Operation Crackdown website.

“You can also contact the independent charity Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111 or report it online.

“If you know someone is driving while over the limit or after taking drugs, call 999.”