View Full Version : Probable cause of fatal accident

21-Aug-14, 06:54
Heart-related turn likely to have cause elderly driver to veer into holiday cyclists inquiry hears

A TOP consultant has cited the probable cause of an elderly driver veering off a road and colliding with two cyclists, killing one of them – as a heart-related turn.
Dr Malcolm Metcalfe will give evidence tomorrow to an inquiry into the tragedy which claimed the life Elaine Dunne.
However, his opinion emerged at yesterday’s hearing when fiscal Alasdair McDonald was questioning driver Alice Ross’s GP, Doctor Bobby Echavarren, who practices in the village of Lybster.
Mrs Dunne died at the scene of the accident at Auckengill on the A99, a few miles south of John O’ Groats on September 21, 2011. Her husband sustained severe multiple injuries but recovered.
The couple from Glenfield, Leicester, had been on a cycling holiday in Orkney and were on their way south to mark their first wedding anniversary.
Mrs Ross, a retired shopkeeper, now 86, was said to have swerved to avoid a black cat which crossing her patth, although a police crash investigator found no marks on the road to indicate a sudden swerve. She was known to have had brief blackouts in the past, the latest which occurred while she was visiting her cousin Miss Alexandrina Steven, in John O’ Groats, a month before the accident.
Mr MacDonald referred to Dr Mecalfe’s statement, part of the inquiry productions and said that his conclusion was that the balance of probabilities for the cause of the unusual path taken by Mrs Ross’s Nissan Micra, was “strongly in keeping with a cardiac cause which led to her loss of control of her car".
Mr MacDonald described this as, essentially, a faint with perhaps a cardiac/stroke cause as the trigger, in the background.
Asked what action he would have taken, had he been aware of Dr Metcalfe’s report, and the fact that Mrs Ross was still driving, Dr Echavarren said he would have initially asked her to self-report the matter to the DVLA.
If she had declined to do so and continued to drive, he would have contacted the licensing authority himself.
Dr Echavarren added that had he known about the blackout a month before the accident, he would have examined Mrs Ross and, if necessary referred her to a specialist.
Today, the fifth day of the inquiry will take the unusual step of leaving the court and adjourning to the village of Lybster, where it will sit in the local church hall. Solicitors will remove their gowns and Sheriff Andrew Berry his wig to try as much as possible to put Mrs Ross at ease for her evidence.
Dr Metcalfe will then give his evidence. Mrs Ross, who surrendered her driving licence after the fatal crash, is currently on medication to control high blood pressure.