A pensioner caused a fatal crash when he drove straight over a junction into the path of an oncoming car, Lincoln Crown Court was told today (Friday).
John Batey, 69, missed a Give Way sign on a rural road at Fonaby Top near Caistor and drove into the path of an oncoming car which had right of way.
A collision occurred which left both Batey’s Ford Focus and the second vehicle, driven by Mark Hadley, badly damaged.
Mr Hadley’s mother Marlene Hadley, 73, from North Killingholme, who was a rear seat passenger in her son’s car, died as a result of chest and pelvic injuries she received in the collision.
Mark Hadley suffered serious injuries including fractures of vertebrae in his back and of both feet. His wife Caroline suffered multiple fractures to a toe on her left foot and bruising to her stomach.
The family had been out to celebrate Marlene Hadley’s forthcoming 74th birthday.
Gurdial Singh, prosecuting, said that Mr Hadley was in a line of traffic approaching a fork in the road on which he had right of way.
He said: “A white car came out of the junction. It didn’t stop or make any attempt to give way. There was nothing Mr Hadley could do. He didn’t even have time to brake.
“There was a huge impact and the air bag was deployed. When his vehicle stopped it had spun 360 degrees.
“The Give Way sign was 40 metres from the junction. The hazard line and the warning sign were clear and unobstructed.”
Batey was travelling with his wife to visit his granddaughter in Skegness.
Mr Singh said Batey was using a sat-nav system which was later tested and found to give misleading instructions about right of way at the junction.
The system gave no audible warning of the junction ahead, but Mr Singh said: “It is the responsibility of the driver to follow the road signs.”
Both Batey and his wife were seriously injured as a result of the collision.
The court was told that Batey has no recollection of what happened.
Mr Singh said that Mark Hadley and his wife have been left devastated, but bear no malice towards Batey.
Batey, from the Cotswolds, Chilton, County Durham, admitted causing death by careless driving as a result of the incident on August 21 last year.
Stephen Hamill, in mitigation, said that Batey was “bereft” and full of remorse.
“He is a deeply traumatised man.
“He wishes it had been him that had been killed in the accident. He has not only destroyed the Hadley family but destroyed his own.”
Mr Hamill said that Batey had no previous convictions and a good driving record but has now decided not to drive again.
Batey was given a 12 month community order with 100 hours of unpaid work and a two month night-time curfew. He was also disqualified from driving for three years.
Judge Simon Hirst, passing sentence, said: “Some distance before that junction is a Give Way sign that you drove past. You didn’t stop at the Give Way line. Your continued and your car struck Mr Hadley’s car.
“The result of that was the tragic death of Marlene Hadley.
“I must take into account your serious injuries, your good driving record and your remorse which I accept is totally genuine.
“The sentence that I pass is in no way meant to try and put a value on the life of Marlene Hadley. Her life is beyond value.”