An 85-year-old motorist who continued to drive for three miles, unaware that he had ploughed through a group of five cyclists, killing one and seriously injuring another, has escaped jail after being given a six-month sentence suspended for six months.
Llandudno Magistrates' Court heard that Huw Edwards of Bryngwran, Anglesey, whose health had deteriorated in the months preceding the incident on 13 April this year, only became aware of what had happened when his wife Mabel, a passenger in the vehicle, told him about it.
Edwards had pleaded guilty to causing death by driving without due care and attention.
As reported on road.cc at the time of the accident two of the five cyclists one of whom was the deceased had been undertaking a challenge that involved riding from Belfast to London via Dublin and Bristol and running a marathon in each city to raise money for a leukeamia charity and in memory of a friend who had died of the disease.
At around 10.15am Edwards, who was taking his wife, a cancer patient, to a hospital appointment, struck the group from behind on the A55 near Rhostrehwfa, Llangefni.
According to the Daily Post prosecutor Nia Lloyd told the court that there had been “no braking and no skid marks.”
Gareth Crockett, aged 27, was killed in the incident while another of the cyclists suffered a compound fracture among other injuries. In a statement read out to the court, the sister of Mr Crockett, who was originally from County Antrim, said: “Our lives have been devastated by one moment of bad driving.”
According to Edwards’ solicitor, Gareth Parry, his client, who has also been banned from driving for ten years, was “genuinely remorseful.”
He explained that between February and June this year, Edwards’ health had taken a downturn, affecting his concentration and his eyesight, while he also had trouble controlling his diabetes. His wife also died during the summer.
According to District Judge Andrew Shaw, “It was a very serious act of carelessness.” He added that he was “mystified” as to why Edwards continued to drive after the incident, and pointed out that due to the cyclists’ clothing they should have been visible from some distance.
“This is a terribly tragic case. Gareth Crockett was a young man from a close family,” he added.
Last month, we reported how there had been a sharp rise in the number of motorists losing their licences due to deteriorating vision, and how a report from the RAC Foundation regarding older drivers had stated that “many drivers will retire from driving at too early a stage while others will go on beyond the point where it is safe to do so.”
Born in Scotland, Simon moved to London aged seven and now lives in the Oxfordshire Cotswolds with his miniature schnauzer, Elodie. He fell in love with cycling one Saturday morning in 1994 while living in Italy when Milan-San Remo went past his front door. A daily cycle commuter in London back before riding to work started to boom, he's been news editor at road.cc since 2009. Handily for work, he speaks French and Italian. He doesn't get to ride his Colnago as often as he'd like, and freely admits he's much more adept at cooking than fettling with bikes.