Driver cul­pa­ble over fa­tal crash

COURT RE­PORTER

Rutherglen Reformer - - News -

A Cam­bus­lang de­liv­ery driver smashed head-on into a BMW killing the driver af­ter over­tak­ing a car slow­ing down to turn right, a court was told.

At the High Court in Glas­gow, Ron­ald Bridges, 59, of Cairn­swell Av­enue, Cam­bus­lang, ad­mit­ted caus­ing the death of a 55-year-old man by care­less driv­ing on the A77 south of Bal­lantrae, Ayr­shire, on Au­gust 10, 2016.

Mr Bridges, a de­liv­ery driver for Sta­ple­ton’s Tyres, was orig­i­nally charged with death by dan­ger­ous driv­ing, but he ad­mit­ted the re­duced charge of death by care­less driv­ing.

The court heard that Bridges was un­able to stop in time be­hind a Toy­ota Land Cruiser, which was turn­ing right.

He pulled out onto the wrong side of the road and col­lided head-on with the sil­ver BMW be­ing driven by Michael Laverty.

Prosecutor Iain McS­por­ran said: “The driv­ing can be con­sid­ered to fall be­low the re­quired stan­dard, but not suf­fi­ciently far be­low to met the def­i­ni­tion of dan­ger­ous driv­ing. It could be char­ac­terised as mo­men­tary inat­ten­tion.

“At around 1.42pm, Mr Laverty’s car was struck es­sen­tially head-on by the lorry be­ing driven by Mr Bridges.

“There was noth­ing which Mr Laverty could have done to an­tic­i­pate or avoid the col­li­sion, nor was there any fault or er­ror on his part.”

The court heard that Mr Laverty, who had been driv­ing home, died at the scene from mul­ti­ple in­juries to his chest and ab­domen.

Mr McS­por­ran added: “As the driver of a black Toy­ota Land Cruiser slowed down to turn right she was sud­denly aware of the lorry over­tak­ing her. Al­most si­mul­ta­ne­ously the lorry col­lided with the on­com­ing BMW.

“The ac­cused ought to have seen and re­acted to the pres­ence of the slow­ing ve­hi­cle ahead, but re­acted too late. Upon re­al­is­ing the Land Cruiser was in his path he re­acted by brak­ing and steer­ing onto the op­pos­ing lane with fa­tal con­se­quences. His de­layed re­ac­tion in avoid­ing one se­ri­ous col­li­sion re­sulted in an­other.”

Bridges told a para­medic at the scene: “Come across a sta­tion­ary ve­hi­cle in the road and swerved to avoid it.”

The court was told Bridges ap­peared to be alert, un­in­jured, but con­fused and very up­set.

Judge Lady Stacey was shown twominute video footage filmed from in­side Bridges’ lorry which showed the fa­tal col­li­sion.

De­fence coun­sel Su­san Duff Said: “This is a tragic case. Mr Bridges has ex­pressed his sad­ness for Mr Laverty’s death and his in­volve­ment in that.

“He says he plays the ac­ci­dent over ev­ery day in his head. He has no pre­vi­ous con­vic­tions. He has been mar­ried for 36 years and is a carer for his wife.”

Lady Stacey con­tin­ued bail for Bridges and de­ferred sen­tence un­til next month to ob­tain back­ground re­ports.

She also dis­qual­i­fied him from driv­ing in the in­terim.

This is a tragic case. Mr Bridges has ex­pressed his sad­ness for Mr Laverty’s death and his in­volve­ment in that.

Su­san Duff

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