Lorry driver is fined £500 for death of lollipop patrol lady

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A LORRY driver who knocked down and killed a lollipop lady was fined £500 yesterday after being found guilty of careless driving.

The court heard that Ian McEwan, 66, was "devastated" by the incident in which Catherine Gibson, 59 was knocked down on a pedestrian crossing in front of a group of school children.

Yesterday road safety campaigners said the case showed a need for improved training for lorry drivers which could help prevent unnecessary deaths.

The jury at Glasgow Sheriff Court returned a not proven verdict to the charge of causing death by dangerous driving, but found McEwan guilty of a less serious charge of careless driving.

Passing sentence Sheriff Sam Cathcart told McEwan: "The sentence I will impose must reflect the jury's verdict."

McEwan was given five penalty points and fined 500. He will not lose his licence.

The HGV driver, from Newmilns, East Ayrshire, was at the wheel of the lorry when it struck Mrs Gibson as she stepped on to a pedestrian crossing in Fielden Street in Glasgow on 14 January 2010.

Catherine Gibson, from Dennistoun, was taken to hospital but later died from her injuries.

Annette Shreenan, who was walking her two granddaughters to school that day said the lorry had stopped at the pedestrian crossing when she arrived there, but started to move when Mrs Gibson stepped on to the road.

Procurator-fiscal depute Imran Bashir asked Mrs Shreenan: "What happened once it (the light] changed to green?"

Mrs Shreenan said: "The lollipop woman stepped out to see us across and just at that the lorry started moving."

She said Mrs Gibson faced the lorry, put her hand up and walked backwards but it continued to move and she was caught underneath.

Mrs Shreenan said: "It just happened so fast and she was under the wheel."

In his evidence, McEwan claimed his lorry stopped on the pedestrian crossing before the incident and that he did not see Mrs Gibson before she was under his truck.

He told the court he did not think it was possible for anybody to walk round the passenger side of the lorry.

He said: "I was so close to the kerb and pedestrian safety barrier I just thought it was unlikely, impossible for anything or person to come up my nearside because it was really so close."

The court heard heard the HGV driver has been left "devastated" by the incident.

A statement on behalf of McEwan said he has "sincerely and deeply held regret about the consequences of the accident and the memory of which will remain with him".

Yesterday Kevin Clinton, head of road safety at the Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents, said: "This tragic case indicates just how severe accidents involving large vehicles can be - even at very low speeds.

"We know that lorries are too often involved in accidents that kill or injure vulnerable road users.

"As such, good observation by lorry drivers is absolutely crucial - and more can be done to help them through such things as better mirrors, cameras and sensors."

He said it was particularly sad that a person who worked on a crossing patrol had been killed on the road.

"Crossing patrols provide an essential safety service, especially for children.

"They are a much-loved feature of the British landscape - and it is easy to forget just how dangerous a job they do."

Mike Cavenett of the London Cycling Campaign said: "There are things you can do with lorry design to increase visibility - such as improving mirror design and fitting side sensors. These sorts of measures can make a huge difference to safety."