Nurse gets driving ban after crash kills pensioner cyclist
A NURSE has been banned from driving for a year and fined £300 after causing the death of a Lincolnshire pensioner.
Wendy Walmsley, 39, was attempting to turn right on to the A159 North Street in Gainsborough, at around 8.35am on May 17, when she failed to see 68-year-old cyclist Derek Vickers and drove into him.
Mr Vickers, who was wearing a bright orange reflective jacket, but no helmet, was thrown from his bike and suffered serious head injuries, dying later that day in hospital.
Walmsley pleaded guilty to causing death by careless driving at her trial last month, and on Friday appeared at Lincoln Magistrates' Court for sentencing.
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Prosecutor Paul Wood told the court that when interviewed at the scene, Walmsley said she had not seen the experienced cyclist prior to the crash.
"Mr Vickers was there to be seen and had she made better checks he would have been visible," he said.
During the hearing a "special reasons" application was made by Walmsley's solicitor Ben Pears, in an attempt to reduce the driving ban she was expecting.
"If Walmsley is banned from driving then she will lose her job," he said.
"But this is a stretch of road where there have been 10 similar injury collisions in the past 25 years – nine of which have involved cyclists and one a motorcyclist.
"History does very much suggest there is a danger when a two-wheeled vehicle on the road meets a four-wheeled vehicle trying to turn right into North Road.
"Because of these difficulties the junction is now the subject of a 'desk-top study' by Lincolnshire County Council highways department's accident prevention scheme."
Rejecting the application because the junction "was typical of many across the county" Walmsley was given a mandatory 12-month driving disqualification, fined £300 and ordered to pay £150 costs with a £15 victims' surcharge.
But handing down the sentence, District Judge Richard Blake said Walmsley had shown only "momentary inattention" and the case "was one of those tragic accidents that anyone could find themselves involved in".
"There was no question of recklessness or excessive speed," he said. "And there is no question of any distractions such as a mobile phone or that she was trying to tune the radio.
"This is at the lowest level of driving without due care or attention.
"I hope the end of this case will help the family find some measure of closure.
"And I do hope Walmsley's employer will look at the character references that have been put forward and find her some other thing to do for the next year."