Driver repeatedly blocking ambulance in Reading is worst case 'ever seen' by emergency service

Watch: Driver repeatedly overtakes and blocks ambulance heading to emergency

A man who repeatedly blocked paramedics as they were on their way to an emergency has been sentenced.

On Wednesday 2 February, paramedics in a marked ambulance for South Central Ambulance Service were driving along the A4 Bath Road, Reading towards Maidenhead, responding to a medical emergency of a collapsed man.

The ambulance overtook a red Suzuki Vitara, being driven by 38-year-old Albert Butler.

Butler then overtook the ambulance, pulling directly in front of it and braking, slowing the ambulance down.

The ambulance continued along the A4 and Butler continued to overtake other members of the public who had pulled over to allow the ambulance to pass.

Butler then slowed down again, blocking the ambulance’s path.

Butler continued to block the path of the ambulance along Wargrave Road, where he continued to brake heavily. Credit: South Central Ambulance Service

Butler continued to block the path of the ambulance along Wargrave Road, where he continued to brake heavily, weave in the road and encroach onto the wrong side of the road.

Dee Cowan, the paramedic who was driving the ambulance along with a student paramedic, says she had never experienced an incident like it in her whole career.

She said: "It just became quite clear that he was intent on stopping us from progressing and he was just trying to stay in front of us and just keep slowing us down.

"It threw me so much and we just had to let our control know that this was happening. We were still trying to get ahead of him.

"It felt like he was playing with us. He'd upset us so much that we had to just steady ourselves before we could keep on going on to the patient.

  • Paramedic Dee Cowan says she thought the driver was going to attack her and her colleague

She added: "At one point he just stops us in Wargrave and I thought he was going to get out of the car and attack us. But luckily he decided that he'd had enough."

Mark Ainsworth, Director of Operations at SCAS, 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."

Albert Butler of Reading was sentenced to eight months in prison, suspended for 18 months, after pleading guilty to dangerous driving and obstructing/hindering an emergency worker in Maidenhead.

He was also ordered to complete 20 rehabilitation activity requirement days, 200 hours of unpaid work over an 18-month period, was banned from driving for three years and given 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."