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Sunlight blinded me says tragedy driver

Wolverhampton | News | Published:

A shaft of sunlight triggered a crash that killed an 89-year-old Black Country woman and devastated the life of the driver of the car, a judge heard.

A shaft of sunlight triggered a crash that killed an 89-year-old Black Country woman and devastated the life of the driver of the car, a judge heard.

Edna Bytheway was crossing The Green in her home town of Darlaston as her sister Daisy watched helplessly just feet away when disaster struck, Wolverhampton Crown Court was told yesterday.

She was knocked down by a Volkswagen driven by Hiralal Patel and died in hospital less than four hours later after suffering multiple fractures of her legs, ribs and pelvis.

Prosecutor Miss Sati Aujla explained: "When the collision occurred the victim was ahead of her sister who had seen the car and started to step back towards the pavement. The victim had her head down and may not have heard the oncoming vehicle because she was deaf in one ear.

"The defendant accepted he was blinded by the glare of the sun for a couple of seconds but that does not explain why he had not seen the victim or her sister sooner."

Patel, aged 59, who was travelling within the 30 mph speed limit had at least four seconds to react but did not brake until after his car had struck the pedestrian, the court heard.

He said: "I wish to apologise to the friends and family of Edna Bytheway and am deeply sorry for their sudden loss. My sympathies will always be with them and I pray she rests in peace.

"I feel drained emotionally, physically and mentally and would do anything to turn back time and change the sequence of events."

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Sarah-Jayne Buckingham, defending, said: "This was a momentary loss of attention which has left him totally grief and guilt ridden."

Judge Michael Challinor told Patel from Pearson Street, West Bromwich, who admitted causing death by careless driving on January 9 last year: "Immense harm was done by the defendant but it was a careless act that was neither deliberate nor reckless. "

Patel was given a 12 month community order, told to do 150 hours unpaid work, banned from driving for 18 months and ordered to pay £1,200 costs.

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