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Moray motorist banned after hitting bus near Findhorn in ‘momentary’ lapse of concentration

Catherine Smith leaving Elgin Sheriff Court.
Catherine Smith leaving Elgin Sheriff Court.

A Moray motorist who crashed into a bus near Findhorn during a “momentary” lapse of concentration has been banned from the roads.

Kathryn Smith, from Kinloss, hit the Stagecoach service after her Toyota Rav4 drifted onto the opposite carriageway.

The bus driver reported seeing the motorist looking down as the vehicle approached on the B9011 Kinloss road close to the Findhorn Foundation.

At Elgin Sheriff Court yesterday, solicitor Ben Thom did not explain what had drawn his client’s attention from the road when asked by Sheriff Gary Aitken.

However, he did add that Smith, who works as a baker, already had six penalty points on her licence for using a mobile phone while driving.

Sheriff Aitken warned he incident could have had tragic consequences after viewing dashcam footage from the bus.

He said: “On that stretch of road there is a footpath for people to walk along. I saw people walking along it on the footage and there was a cyclist too.

“This could have had catastrophic consequences.”

Elgin Sheriff Court.

Fiscal Alex Swain explained the bus had passengers on board at the time of the accident, on October 12 last year.

She said the driver of the Forres to Findhorn Stagecoach service had attempted to take avoiding action but did not have enough time.

She added: “The accused’s car collided with the bus.

“The driver pulled into a layby and looked in his mirror to see if the accused had stopped but she had continued driving.

“Nobody on the bus was injured.”

The bus driver reported scratches down the side of his vehicle and debris from Smith’s Toyota on the road.

When police attended at the 49-year-old’s home they saw scratches down the side of her vehicle.

Yesterday Mr Thom said his client had explained the damage occurred during a separate incident.

He added: “The situation at the time did give Miss Smith quite a scare but she didn’t appreciate the seriousness of the bump with the bus.

“It was only later she appreciated she ought to have reported the accident and stopped.

“She can only offer an unreserved apology.”

The collision occurred near the entrance to the Findhorn Foundation.

Mr Thom added: “She works as a baker and makes deliveries to various places as part of that.

“If her licence is lost then she wouldn’t be able to maintain that.

“Her husband is employed as a farmer and she drives him to that employment, so it’s anticipated that he may also lose his job.”

Sheriff Aitken said: “The matter is a serious set of circumstances. I consider it a serious example of careless driving.”

Smith, of North Road in Kinloss, was fined £585 and banned from driving for eight months after pleading guilty to charges of careless driving and failing to stop and report a road accident.

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