Wrong-way golfer in A9 crash after satnav mix-up

Chris Crowder had been playing in a tournament at Gleneagles when he joined the wrong carriageway on the A9. Picture: Getty
Chris Crowder had been playing in a tournament at Gleneagles when he joined the wrong carriageway on the A9. Picture: Getty
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A PROFESSIONAL golfer left several people injured after causing a crash on the A9 shortly after playing in a prestigious tournament at Gleneagles.

Chris Crowder’s wife was left scarred for life, while his young daughter and playing partner had to crawl from the wreckage after the car rolled across the dual carriageway at speed.

Crowder swerved suddenly into the path of another vehicle after debating with fellow player Ronnie Singleton over the directions being given by his satnav system.

At Perth Sheriff Court yesterday, PGA professional Crowder was banned from driving for six months and fined £500 after he admitted careless driving in September last year.

He had been playing in the grand final of the Lombard Trophy on the Ryder Cup course and was leaving Gleneagles with his playing partner, wife Joanne and four-year-old daughter.

Rebecca Kynaston, prosecuting, said that Crowder’s Citroen C4 was “loaded to capacity with luggage”, which made his view out of the rear window difficult.

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She added: “He utilised satnav due to his unfamiliarity with the area. After a short period of confusion, with the accused and his passenger discussing whether to follow the satnav directions, they eventually turned on to the A9. However, he mistakenly turned on to the northbound rather than the Glasgow-bound carriageway. Mr Singleton informed the accused he was going the wrong way.”

She said Crowder then swerved without warning into the path of another car driven by a woman.

Ms Kynaston said: “She felt the collision was inevitable. Her airbag deployed and she continued on to the central reservation before crashing.

“The collision caused the accused’s vehicle to be propelled on to the southbound, opposing carriageway. It narrowly avoided other traffic. The vehicle overturned and collided with the verge before coming to rest on its roof.

“Mr Singleton was seen to crawl from the front passenger seat, while the accused’s daughter crawled from the rear with scuff marks to her face.

“The accused’s wife tried to drag herself from the rear, but she had extensive injuries, with the bone protruding from her leg and foot.”

Mrs Kynaston said an air ambulance was called but it was considered too dangerous for Crowder’s wife’s injury and she was taken by ambulance to Ninewells Hospital in Dundee.

She was found to have dislocated her foot and broken her leg in four places. She spent two weeks in hospital and needed several bouts of surgery.

The woman driver of the other car suffered chest pains and airbag burns.

Defending solicitor Alison Mackay said: “It was a hire car and he was not familiar with the area. A greenkeeper later confirmed there had been a change to the road layout, which had not been updated on most satnavs.

“He had the satnav telling him to go one way and his friend telling him to go the other way. He realises he has to go the other way and pulls out to the outside lane.

“It was clearly a horrible accident and his wife has sustained injuries from which she will never recover. She will be permanently scarred.”

Crowder, who represents Liverpool’s Lee Park Golf Club, qualified for the Glenmuir PGA Professional Championship earlier this year.

He said: “We’d only been travelling for about ten minutes after leaving Gleneagles. It happened as soon as we got on to the A9 and the car rolled.”

Sheriff Michael Fletcher noted that Crowder already had six points on his licence and added seven more, leading to the ban.