A driver who left a pensioner a “prisoner” in her own body following a horror smash has only received a £135 fine – because he was blinded by the SUN.
Pedestrian Virginia Parmenter suffered life-changing injuries after being knocked down by William Andre’s silver Ford Escort as she walked her son-in-law’s dog on January 14.
She spent three days in the high-dependency unit at the Royal Victoria Infirmary (RVI) in Newcastle before being moved to a trauma ward.
Mrs Parmenter, who is in her 70s, also had surgery to both her knees and a blood transfusion to treat internal bleeding.
In a victim impact statement, the pensioner explained she doesn’t ‘feel like myself anymore’ after being mown down near to hump-back bridge that runs across a Metro line.
Andre, 64, who pleaded guilty to careless driving, had eight penalty points put on his licence and was fined £135 by South Tyneside Magistrates’ after they heard he was blinded by the sun as he drove.
Prosecuting, Clare Urwin said Mrs Parmenter described herself as active for her age prior to the incident, regularly going on six-mile bike rides and five-mile walks.
Mrs Parmenter suffered internal bleeding, a fractured eye socket, cuts to her head and face, fractured hips, two fractured bones at the base of her spine and a broken knee in the collision.
She said in a victim statement: “I don’t feel like myself any more. I’m almost feeling like a prisoner in my own body.
“Prior to the collision I enjoyed walking, gardening and being out on my bike.
“The collision has left me in a lot of pain. My eyesight has been affected.
“The brightness seems to have gone out of my life and it is really affecting me and my husband Brian.”
The court was told nobody witnessed the actual crash; however, a number of people stopped to help after coming across the scene.
Defending, Charlie Carr said: “This accident took place just after the hump-back bridge that runs across the Metro line.
“At the material time, both parties would have not had sight of each other. It’s clear that Mr Andre or anybody else could not see over the other side.
“Anybody crossing the road could not see the other side.
“In hindsight, he should have travelled a bit slower and the accident would not have happened.
“He was approaching the brow of the hill. There was no sun in his eyes.
“It wasn’t until he crossed over the hump that there was a flash in his face and bang – the incident happened.
“He was driving at 25mph from the expert’s report, not the speed he should have driven at in the conditions.
“That is the sort of accident that can happen with anybody. Wrong time, wrong place and a split-second.”
Mr Carr added that all the independent witnesses who saw the aftermath, said how upset Andre was, describing him as ‘hysterical’ and in a ‘terrible state’.
He said his work as a self-employed electrician has also suffered due to the trauma of what happened.
The bench said they placed the offence in Category 1, which means it involved higher culpability and greater harm.
Aside from the £135 fine, Andre was ordered to pay £250 costs and a £30 surcharge, which he will be paying off at a rate of £10 per week.
The court heard Andre was insured at the time and any compensation will be handled by the insurance company.