View Full Version : Crash driverapologises for tragedy

21-Aug-14, 13:37
Ninety-six-year-old driver had no concerns about blackout recurring at wheel inquiry told

A WOMAN, who was thought to have had a blackout when she ploughed into two holidaymakers killing one of them didn’t surrender her licence until seven months later despite having recurring turns, an inquiry into the tragedy heard yesterday.
Mrs Alice Ross said she had no concerns about the possibility of taking a blackout while at the wheel.
She apologised for the accident but told the inquiry at Wick that she had no memory of colliding with Christopher and Elaine Dunne and believed that her Nissan Micra was the only car involved in the accident, on the A99, at Auckengill, on September 21, 2011 until the news was broken to her later.
Mrs Dunne was pronounced dead at the scene –her husband sustained multiple injuries but recovered. The couple had been on a cycling holiday to mark their first wedding anniversary and came off their bike at a croft house to put on rainwear.
Petite Mrs Alice Ross, said to be virtually housebound due to a back complaint, made her way into a hearing, specially convened in a church hall in her home village of Lybster - with the aid of a walking stick.
The softly-spoke 96 year old who was her way to visit a cousin in john O’ Groats, at the time of the crash, recalled an impression of a cat crossing the road which had caused her to veer onto the wrong side. She said that her health had never interfered with her driving during some 45 years trouble-free motoring and, apart from her back complaint and blood pressure, regarded her health as good.
Mrs Ross said that she had one blackout a month before the accident but didn’t report it and a further turn while preparing vegetables at the sink of her home in November the same year after the crash but didn’t remember mentioning to a GP practice nurse.
Asked why she had reported a further turn to her GP she replied: “I suppose I was just worried but nothing else happened.” The report led to hospital tests which found no reason for the blackouts.
Mrs Ross said that generally she didn’t remember the blackouts but had been told about them by people with her at the time.
Fiscal Alasdair MacDonald asked her about a specific blackout: “Were you worried about driving having had it?”
Mrs Ross: “Not really” adding she wasn’t concerned.
Mr MacDonald: “You were not sufficiently worried to make an appointment with your doctor?”
Mrs Ross: “ No. I might have mentioned it when I was getting my blood pressure checked.”
Mr MacDonald: “Why not an appointment.?”
Mrs Ross: I didn’t feel ill enough to go to a doctor”
Mr Macdonald: “Were you worried that a blackout might happen when you were at the wheel?”.
Mrs Ross: “No”.
Asked why she had given up driving, Mrs Ross told the inquiry: “When I realised what had happened, I didn’t want to drive again.”
She agreed with Mr MacDonald that the decision was not necessarily because she had been the cause of the accident.
Mrs Ross was at times unable to remember dates and documents and had frequently to be prompted by Mr MacDonald.
The inquiry continues but is expected to break today (Friday) and resume on September 2.