Greg Dyke, University Chancellor and former Director-General of the BBC, has been charged with dangerous driving, after an accident which caused a car carrying a young family to overturn.
The incident, which took place last October, occurred when Dyke was driving at 40mph on the A30 near Exeter, when he hit the back of a car that had stopped at red traffic lights.
The force of the collision flipped the car onto its roof, causing the driver, Stephen Manvell, and his partner, Lucie Welsman, to suffer neck and back injuries. Their children, an eight-week old baby boy and a two-year old girl, escaped injury as they remained strapped into their child seats.
David Burgess, for the prosecution, told Exeter Magistrates Court that a witness had to calm Manvell down and “stop him attacking” Dyke, who walked away from his car unhurt.
In court, Dyke, 62, claimed he had “very little recollection” of the incident, saying it left him in “a complete state of shock”.
He said he suddenly braked and veered to the left towards a barrier, but the front of his Lexus caught under the other car and flipped it over.
He admitted: “I have no excuse to make. I lost concentration. It was completely my fault. I have no-one other than myself to blame.
“I have been driving for more than 40 years and never had a serious accident before. I have written to apologise to Mr Manvell and his family for the frightening experience which was no fault of their own.”
Dyke was fined £600, with £75 costs and had six points put on his licence, adding to the three points recorded for a 2008 speeding offence.
Speaking of the accident, Mr Manvell, 34, from Feniton, Devon, commented: “I heard a screech of hard braking and he ploughed into us. It was a bit of a freak because instead of shunting us, his car flipped us over onto the roof.
“The children were screaming. I managed to get out and grabbed one of the children and another chap got the baby out. He was fantastic. He calmed everyone down because emotions were raw. It was a horrible situation through no fault of our own.”
He continued: “Mr Dyke sent us a letter of apology saying it was entirely his fault and he was glad that everyone was okay. We did not respond as we have drawn a line under it, but we appreciated the letter.”
Dyke, who studied Politics at the University of York between 1971and 1974, was appointed the position of University Chancellor in 2004. Under the title his official duties include conferring degrees on behalf of the University, and chairing the University’s Court. He also chairs the University’s Development Board.
In 1999 he was awarded the honorary degree of Doctor of the University for his contribution to industry and to public services.