Yesterday Tracy Johnson walked free from a court after driving into two cyclists at a roundabout and killing one of them; mother-of-three Sharon Corless.
Newspaper reports make much of the fact she was driving a particularly expensive Chelsea Tractor and had just come off a mobile phone. You get the picture – totally irresponsible on all levels. However, her defence claimed that she might have fainted, and the prosecution couldn’t prove she hadn’t – although their medical examination had been unable to recreate the conditions.
David Porter described the events for the prosecution:
“For reasons that defy any reasonable explanation, the defendant’s vehicle began to accelerate towards the roundabout. The vehicle began to drift from the carriageway and then collided with the verge and drove along the vergeway(sic) with the near side wheels on the verge.
“It travelled along the vergeway for approximately 50 metres. Having collided with the verge the vehicle then collided with Mrs Corless who was dragged underneath the wheels of the Range Rover. She suffered fatal injuries and died later in hospital.
“Moments later there was a second collision with Peter Corless, who was thrown clear of the vehicle but nevertheless sustained serious injuries.
“The vehicle then carried on to the roundabout where it collided with a further vehicle – a Peugeot which was being driven by a young lady with her daughter.
“Fortunately they suffered no injuries. The vehicle then collided and came to a stop with a lamp post on the roundabout itself.
“Witnesses behind the vehicle said at no stage did they see brake lights come one; rather it appeared to accelerate.
“The defendant emerged from the vehicle in a shocked and dazed condition saying something along the lines of ‘what’s happened.’ Moments later she was asking for her mobile telephone, which she later said was to call her partner.”
Now, from what I’ve been able to read about the court case, it is certainly possible she fainted. However the family whose mother was killed have thus been denied a proper trial to prove this, and anyone wealthy enough to employ a good lawyer can just keep driving for a bit after killing someone and then claim they’d fainted in the knowledge that it won’t even go to court.
Either she’s lying, or she isn’t, and we won’t ever get to find out. However, one thing is telling – she was not banned for driving. This woman claims she’s prone to randomly losing conscious, and by all accounts, is still behind a wheel. Holders of a driving license have a duty to report various medical conditions to the DVLA, including anything that causes loss of consciousness, so that their license can be revoked.
So anyone in Mrs Johnson’s home town of Warrington spotting her behind the wheel would do well to call the police – she’s driving with a medical condition that makes her unsafe. She said so herself in court.
It may be that Mrs Johnson has surrendered her driving license; this wouldn’t make everything aright but would stop her looking guilty. I’d be pleased to hear from anyone who knows this to be the case.