A woman has been charged in connection with a crash that killed two top Scottish scientists.
Stewart Rhind and Julian Dawson died after the car they were travelling in collided with another on the A90 Dundee to Aberdeen road, near Fordoun, on March 8 last year.
Last night the Crown Office confirmed a 34-year-old woman has appeared in court in connection with the incident.
Elizabeth-Anne Leitch or Dixon, from Aberdeenshire, faces a charge of death by careless driving.
She made no plea during a private court hearing and was released on bail. The case was continued for further examination, and she will reappear at a later date.
Dr Rhind – who was world-renowned for his work on animal reproduction – and environmental biogeo-chemist Dr Dawson, were travelling back to Aberdeen with another colleague from the James Hutton Institute agricultural research centre after a meeting when the accident happened just north of the Powburn junction.
Two air ambulances, four ambulances, two rapid response units, three fire crews and police were sent to the scene, but the pair could not be saved. The driver of the silver Vauxhall Astra they were in and the driver of the other vehicle, a black Saab 9-3, were taken to hospital with fractures.
Father-of-two Dr Rhind, of Westhill, worked internationally and had collaborated with science teams in the US and Australia on animal research animal issues in the months leading up to his death.
His death was described as an “immense loss to Scottish and world science”.
The 61-year-old’s wife, June, and daughters, Joanna and Sarah, said he had “shaped their worlds” while a former mentor described him as a “stimulating chap” and “tremendous scientist”.
Dr Dawson completed his PhD at Aberdeen University before going on to work on a broad range of soil and water-related research projects.
The 42-year-old, from Aberdeen, later joined the James Hutton Institute as an environmental biogeo-chemist, focusing his research on biogeochemical and hydrological processes within riverine catchment systems.
His family described him as a “wonderful man” while his former colleagues at the university’s plant and soil science department said he was an “inspiration to many”.