Hamilton driver spared jail over death of Motherwell pensioner

A motorist has admitted causing the death of a Motherwell pensioner who was hit by a car on a pedestrian crescent.

Wednesday, 8th January 2020, 11:15 am

Widow Rose O’Donnell, 78, was struck on Airbles Road, Motherwell, as she walked to a paper shop.

Driver Stuart McMillan told police he couldn’t understand how he hadn’t seen her as she crossed the road.

McMillan, 41, of Shaw Drive, Hamilton, appeared at Hamilton Sheriff Court today (Tuesday) and admitted causing death by careless driving on September 15 2018.

He was placed under supervision for a year and must attend a programme for traffic offenders.

Sheriff Thomas Millar also banned him from driving for a year.

Ruth Ross-Davie, prosecuting, said Mrs O’Donnell, who lived with her son in Avon Street, Motherwell, died in hospital three days after the collision.

She was crossing the dual carriageway, where the speed limit is 30 miles an hour, when she was struck by McMillan’s Nissan Qashqai around 11.25am.

Ms Ross-Davie told the court the accused had a clear view of the crossing as he approached.

The lights were at green, but McMillan should have been able to slow and let Mrs O’Donnell finish crossing the road.

The prosecutor explained: “Mrs O’Donnell was walking towards the central reservation when she was struck by the wing mirror of the accused’s vehicle. She fell to the ground.

“McMillan and the driver behind him stopped. They were joined by passers-by as they tried to assist Mrs O’Donnell.

“She was taken to Wishaw General Hospital with injuries to her leg and face. These were serious but not life-threatening.

“She was then transferred to Glasgow Royal Infirmary for surgery, but that led to cardiac arrest and, sadly, she died on September 18.

“Mrs O’Donnell had been in frail health and the trauma of the necessary surgery proved fatal to her.

“I’ve been asked by next of kin to say the impact of their mother’s death is impossible to put into words.

“She was a very dearly loved mother who is badly missed.”

Ms Ross-Davie said McMillan, whose 13-year-old daughter was in the car with him, gave a negative breath test.

He told a police officer: “I don’t understand how I didn’t see her.”

The prosecutor added: “He was in the right hand lane and focused on turning right. He didn’t see Mrs O’Donnell approaching from the left.”

Defence agent Jackson Bateman said McMillan was grateful for a letter from O’Donnell’s family which made clear that they bore no animosity towards him.

Passing sentence, Sheriff Millar expressed his sympathy to the dead woman’s family.

He said the level of carelessness shown by the driver was “minimal “

The sheriff told McMillan: “You have a good driving record with no convictions at all.

“You expressed remorse at the time and it’s clear from background reports what effect this has had on you and your family, particularly your daughter who was a passenger in your car.

“I’m satisfied that a community-based disposal is appropriate in the circumstances.”