An elderly driver’s “tragic momentary lapse” led to a man being crushed against a shop wall and losing a leg below the knee in a Market Harborough accident last May, a Leicester judge heard.
A 77-year-old retired electrician, Alan Ernest Hawkins, from Barton Seagrave, Northamptonshire, admitted causing the accident, but said he could remember nothing about it.
He was fined £800, ordered to pay costs totalling £580 and disqualified from driving for 12 months, by Judge John Temperley at Leicester Magistrates Court.
Judge Temperley admitted: “Any fine that I impose will seem insignificant to the victim and inadequate to a member of the public listening to this case. Sadly the harm caused is severe. The victim has my heartfelt sympathy.”
After the case, crash victim Kevin Hall (53) said: “The magistrate has done what he can within the law, and I’m happy with the disqualification.
“But the fine doesn’t reflect the seriousness of this case and what we’ve been through since the accident happened.”
The court heard from Mark Williams, prosecuting, that Mr Hall, formerly of Fleckney but now living in Aylestone, Leicester, had been on a Sunday shopping expedition in Market Harborough with his wife Sharon on May 10 when the accident happened.
Mr Hall had been walking by the Welland Valley Feeds/The Furniture Barn shop off Rockingham Road, when Hawkins inadvertently pressed the wrong pedal while parking his car, crushing Mr Hall against the wall of the building.
Mr Hall, a former Kibworth and Robert Smyth School pupil, has said he owes his life to prompt work by the emergency services. He died three times in surgery, and had to have his lower leg amputated.
Naomi Gilchrist, defending, said Hawkins had “absolutely no memory of the accident at all” of the incident, and was at a complete loss to explain how it happened.
But four weeks after the accident he was taken to hospital after suffering a heart attack. Experts are unable to say if the accident was caused by a medical problem.
Ms Gilchrist said Hawkins had been previously driving for 50 years with no convictions. She said he had voluntary surrendered his driving licence since the accident.
She added that Hawkins was “desperately, desperately sad and sorry that this has happened and remains at a loss to explain how this came about.”