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OAP driver who ignored warnings not to drive jailed for causing fatal Highland crash

Hanno Garbe, 57, from Aviemore died following the road traffic collision involving a car and a bike.
Hanno Garbe, 57, from Aviemore died following the road traffic collision involving a car and a bike.

A north pensioner who killed a cyclist after ignoring warnings not to drive because of his failing eyesight was jailed for 32 months today.

First offender John Johnstone, 84, caused the death of Hanno Garbe by dangerous driving near Aviemore.

Lord Fairley told Johnstone at the High Court in Edinburgh: “You continued to drive a motor car when it was plainly dangerous for you to do so.”

Lord Fairley said that the unexpected death of Mr Garbe has had “a devastating effect” on his wife Dagmar.

He told Johnstone, of Gynack Road, Kingussie, that he would have jailed him for four years if he was convicted after a trial.

He also banned him from driving for five years and four months and told him he would require to sit an extended test if he wanted to hold a licence in future.

Johnstone earlier admitted causing the death of German national Mr Garbe, 57, on March 4 last year by driving dangerously on the B9152 Aviemore to Kincraig road near Loch Alvie.

Collision investigators concluded that the accused failed to observe the cyclist and that the cause for this was likely to be his poor eyesight.

He drove knowing that his vision was severely impaired and below the required standard and failed to observe the cyclist on the road ahead.

Mr Garbe, a senior sales manager, sustained multiple injuries in the collision and died the following day in hospital.

Highland pensioner who killed cyclist in collision had been told not to drive after cataracts were found in both his eyes

Advocate depute Alex Prentice QC said Johnstone had gone to Specsavers in September 2018 and the optometrist told him he must not drive and must notify the DVLA. This was later confirmed at the eye clinic at Raigmore Hospital.

Mr Prentice said: “The accused was aware that he could not drive until after a successful cataract operation. As of March 4 last year he had not had the operation.”

On the day of the collision widower Johnstone was on his way home in his Kia Picanto car.

Mr Garbe, a keen cyclist, was struck from the rear by the car, causing substantial damage to the bonnet, windscreen and roof of the vehicle.

Mr Prentice said: “The accused got out of the vehicle to find the deceased lying on the side of the southbound carriageway in an unconscious state with a large amount of blood on the roadway.”

Johnstone, who was wearing glasses, failed a roadside sight test.

Mr Prentice said: “Collision investigators concluded that the accused failed to observe the cyclist and that the cause for this was likely to be his poor eyesight.

“The low sun at this time of the year could have been a contributory factor.”

Defence solicitor advocate Marco Guarino said what happened “has had a profound effect” on his client.

“He has indicated to me that he wishes to apologise most profoundly to Mr Garbe’s widow and his extended family,” he said.

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