A dangerous act
Hertfordshire Mercury, 16th October 1915
At Ware Petty Sessions on Tuesday, Charles Cannon (38), an engine driver, of Temple Inn, Roydon, was summoned for obstructing the highway on September 24, at Stanstead Abbotts.
He pleaded not guilty. William Huttlestone, living at South Street, Stanstead Abbotts, said that on the date in question about 8.15 p.m., he was driving a car from Hunsdon to Stanstead Abbotts. About half-way between Newlands and the top of Little Cats Hill he saw a steam motor-lorry standing in the middle of the road. The witness sounded his hooter about 50 yards before he got to it. The witness cut into the bank in order to get past. When he had passed, he got off his own car and went back to the steam lorry and found two men, one of whom was the defendant, and they were both asleep. The witness woke them up, and they seemed to be very ‘funny’. The witness informed the police.
It was a dark night, and it was very dangerous for a motor to be standing in the position it was in. PC Frogley said that on the date in question he went with PC Field to the spot where the motor lorry had apparently stood. There was a quantity of oil in the road, and the witness followed the tracks of the wheels to Roydon Flour Mills, and then to the ‘Temple Inn’, Roydon, where he found the defendant.
He admitted being the driver of the motor-lorry, and seemed very muddled. He could not tell where he stopped, or anything in fact after leaving Hunsdon. The defendant afterwards made a statement to the effect that he left Roydon Mill at 1 p.m. with the motor-lorry loaded with flour, in company with Edward Lawrence, to deliver flour at Hunsdon, Widford, and Hadham. He arrived at Hadham at 3.15 and left about 5 p.m. He got to Hunsdon about 6.15 and stopped there and had a drink, lighted his lamps, and oiled up. He left about 6.45, and after going about two miles he had to stop to get up steam.
The next he knew was someone saying ‘Can’t you get along, mate?’ He did not see a motor-car, and might have dozed off. They both woke up when the man spoke to them. He did not know which side of the road he was on, or where he was. He arrived home at 9 p.m.
PC Frogley added that the point where the lorry stopped was very dark owing to overhanging trees, very winding, and 14 feet wide. PC Field said that when he served the summons the defendant said he had been about a good many hours before this happened. He did not intend to stop in the road many minutes, but he dropped off to sleep. He did not know what part of the road he stopped on.
The defendant, addressing the Bench, said he had been out 40 hours right off without rest, and he had to stop for steam, and must have dozed off.
The defendant’s employer wrote to the effect that the defendant had been out all the day and night of September 23 and all day September 24, without rest, owing to the poor quality of the coal.
The defendant was fined 9 shillings, the Chairman remarking that his employer ought not to have allowed him to go out without sufficient rest.