Fenton OAP died days after horror crash, court hears
A WOMAN was killed when a car being driven by a relative was hit head-on by a driver who had veered onto the wrong side of the road.
Eva Walker, aged 84, of Fenton, died in hospital four days after the crash.
Optician Neil Cartwright, aged 51, was sentenced to 250 hours of unpaid work by Stafford Crown Court yesterday after he previously admitted causing death by careless driving.
Cartwright was driving on the A51 Stone to Rugeley road when his Audi A4 crashed head on with a Vauxhall Meriva being driven by Hilda Austin on October 22 last year.
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The court heard that the Audi was travelling towards Rugeley and the Vauxhall was heading north to the Potteries when the collision happened.
Mrs Austin had two passengers in the car – her husband's great aunt, Mrs Walker, and her mother.
Prosecutor Pat Sullivan said Mrs Austin was travelling at about 50mph.
He said: "She saw the Audi coming in the opposite direction and noticed it swerve on to her side of the road and then swerve back. It seems Mr Cartwright was trying to bring his car under control."
But the court heard his car smashed into the Vauxhall. Mrs Austin's mother also received serious injuries as did Cartwright.
A police expert concluded Cartwright's Audi was straddling the white line at the point of collision but could not say to what extent. There was no evidence of speeding.
Mr Sullivan added: "There is no suggestion Mrs Austin was at fault."
In his victim statement, Mrs Walker's son, Michael Walker said the family has lost someone central in their lives.
Mr Sullivan said: "Ripples of pain have gone through the family as a result of this tragedy."
Cartwright, of Ivy Court, Hixon, pleaded guilty to causing death by careless driving in September.
Peter McCartney, mitigating, said: "Whatever happened, it happened in an instant. He tried to put this right but was not able to. He accepts he crossed the centre line. He has no vision in his mind but accepts three witnesses must be right." Mr McCartney added that the fatality had a devastating effect on the Austin and Walker families, but also on Cartwright's family.
He said the defendant, who is of good character, was not using a phone or under the influence of alcohol.
Mr McCartney added that Cartwright, a self employed locum optician, could potentially lose his job as well as his driving licence.
Judge John Maxwell sentenced Cartwright to a 12-month community order with 250 hours' unpaid work. He was also banned from driving for 18 months and told to pay £1,600 costs.
Judge Maxwell said: "The most likely explanation for this accident was that the defendant failed to take the left hand bend as he should have done. I find it difficult to say I can be sure this was other than momentary inattention."
Mrs Walker's family declined to comment after the sentence.