View Full Version : Wick FAI

18-Aug-14, 20:48
Driver was unaware of accident fatality

AN elderly driver was unaware that her car had collided with a couple holidaying on their first wedding anniversary in the far north, killing one of them, an inquiry into the tragedy heard today.
Alice Ross believed at first, there was no-one else involved in the accident at Auckengill, six miles south of John O’ Groats.
News of the tragedy of September 21, 2011, was broken to her by police two hours later.
It was previously thought that Mrs Ross had blacked out at the wheel of her Nissan Micra car but the inquiry heard that she told her cousin Miss Alexandrina Steven, that she had swerved to avoid a black cat on the A99.
The woman who died, Elaine Dunne from Glenfield, Leicester, had been on a cycling holiday with her husband, Christopher, 30, in Orkney and were on their way home. They had stopped by the roadside to change their clothes which had got wet in a shower, when the accident occurred.
Mrs Dunne was pronounced dead at the scene. Her husband, Christopher sustained multiple injuries and was told by doctors shortly after the crash that he would never walk again, a prognosis which fortunately turned out to be false.
Mr Dunne sat listening the public benches at Wick Sheriff Court, as Miss Steven described the fatal day, September 21, 2011.
She said that Mrs Ross, a retired shopkeeper, who lives in Lybster, had arranged to visit her.
However, seventy-one-year-old Miss Steven said that Mrs Ross rang her on her mobile following the accident in which her car had ended up in a field.
Miss Steven said: “She told me there had been an accident but she was okay. I drove straight to the scene and got into the passenger seat of Alice’s car. She was still in the driving seat and told me there was no-one else involved. She was alright and unhurt. Alice said she had swerved to avoid a black cat.”
Miss Steven , a retired teacher,said that she went with her cousin to the A & E department of Caithness General Hospital at Wick, where police broke the news that the accident had been a fatal one.
“It was a shock” Miss Steven told fiscal Alasdair MacDonald, adding that Mrs Ross had provided a breath test which proved negative.
Miss Steven said that Mrs Ross, a retired shopkeeper, now 96, and seemed to have been “in perfect health” prior to the accident. The inquiry heard later that she was on medication for high blood pressure.
Asked about a turn Mrs Ross had taken at her cousin’s home a month earlier, Miss Steven said that her cousin seem to be “not with us” for a few seconds, “maybe a minute”.
Miss Steven said: “Alice was staring straight ahead and didn’t seem to know what was going on. I spoke to her but got no response. Friends and I helped her outside and, once she got fresh air she was fine . She didn’t seem to appreciate that something had gone wrong.” Miss Steven put the turn down to the fact it had been a hot day and they had all had a heavy meal. The court was told that there had been a similar turn at a family wedding, previously.
The inquiry was told that Mrs Ross never drove following the tragedy and had surrendered her driving licence.
Mrs Ross’s car was found to be in good condition and an examination revealed no faults. She was licensed to drive at the time of the accident.
Mrs Ross was due to have stood trial last year accused of causing the accident by dangerous but the case was dropped following a legal oversight on the part of the Crown. Her lawyers claimed at the time hearing that she had blacked out at the wheel of her car due to the medical condition automatism.
News of Mrs Dunne’s death wasn’t broken to her husband who sustained multiple injuries, until some weeks after the accident, by his mother when she thought he was strong enough. By then, his wife’s funeral had been held.
The couple met through a Leicestershire walking club which electronics engineer, Mr Dunne chaired and they had been together for five years before marrying in 2010. He underwent emergency surgery at Caithness General Hospital, following the accident, before being moved to Glasgow Royal Infirmary and subsequently to Leicester Royal Infirmary.
The inquiry continues.