A CHESHIRE man has been fined £150 for causing the accident which killed a “fun-loving, generous” mum-of-three.
HGV driver Roger Wood, 58, of Bent Lane in Crowton crashed his DAF lorry into the back of 47-year-old Gail Nixon’s sports car on the A54 Holmes Chapel Road at Sproston as she waited to turn right into Brereton Lane, where she lived, at 5.40pm on November 19 last year.
Mrs Nixon’s blue MG was shunted into the path of an oncoming truck travelling towards Middlewich, and the 47-year-old estate agent, who had four grandchildren, died instantly.
Martin McRobb, prosecuting at Vale Royal Magistrates Court on Wednesday, said police experts believed Wood had a clear view of the road for 150m before the crash, and would only have needed 53-71m to stop. But he applied the brakes “no more than seven metres” away from Mrs Nixon’s stationary car, and hit it at approximately 37mph, the court heard.
Despite initially telling police he “couldn’t stop in time” and “it’s a bad road, maybe an accident waiting to happen”, Wood pleaded guilty to driving without due care and attention.
He was also banned from driving for 18 months, fined £90 for exceeding his driving hours on November 15, and ordered to pay £215 court costs.
Ceri Evans, defending, said: “It’s an extremely difficult task to try and mitigate in these circumstances. Of course he should have seen the car much earlier than he did.
“The accident could only have been caused by the inability of Mr Wood to have seen that vehicle.”
Wood had driven trucks for 35 years before the accident but was sacked by Middlewich hauliers Wincanton after Mrs Nixon’s death, and “will never drive an HGV again”, said Miss Evans.
The bespectacled defendant, wearing a suit, shirt and tie, spoke only to confirm his name, address and plea throughout the hearing.
The court heard he still suffers “nightmares and flashbacks” about the accident, sees a counsellor twice a week and has been prescribed sleeping tablets and anti-depressants.
Chairwoman of the bench, Moira Chapman, said magistrates’ hands were tied when it came to sentencing him.
She told the court: “The law is going to be changed soon, and there will be an offence called death by careless driving, which will be imprisonable. But that is not what you are charged with. Anything we do today will seem derisory to the family, but we are tied by the law.”