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Grieving north-east woman crashed head-on into van after hearing sad song on radio

May Slater or Wilson leaving court.
May Slater or Wilson leaving court.

A woman has been fined after causing a head-on crash on a busy north-east road when her vehicle drifted into oncoming traffic.

May Slater or Wilson, 58, was grieving following the sudden death of her sister, and had been reminded of her by a song on the radio as she drove home to Banff along the A947 at King Edward.

Wilson’s Astra drifted onto the wrong side of the road where it collided head-on with a Ford Transit van.

The 58-year-old driver of the van had to be freed by firefighters from the wreckage and taken to Aberdeen Royal Infirmary, while Wilson was also injured.

Fiscal depute Felicity Merson told Aberdeen Sheriff Court both vehicles were travelling at approximately 40mph at the time of the incident, around 4.10pm on July 9 2018.

She said: “The accused’s vehicle drifted onto the opposing carriageway.

“The vehicle was around 20 yards from the van, and while the van driver attempted to pull his vehicle towards the verge and brake in order to avoid a collision, there was no time for him to avoid the head-on collision which took place, causing extensive, irreparable damage to both vehicles.”

Wilson’s car spun 180 degrees, coming to rest on the verge, while the van was shunted from the carriageway.

Mrs Merson said: “The van driver required to be extricated from his van by the fire brigade. He was taken to Aberdeen Royal Infirmary by ambulance.

“The accused was taken to the community hospital by ambulance before going to Dr Gray’s.

“Both drivers suffered differing degrees of injury.”

Wilson, of Malcolm Road, Banff, had faced a charge of causing serious injury by dangerous driving over the incident, however yesterday the crown accepted a plea of guilty to a lesser charge of careless driving.

Defence counsel Gavin Anderson said: “On June 23, 16 days prior to the collision, Mrs Wilson was told her sister, to whom she was very close, died suddenly and unexpectedly from a heart attack while she was in Spain.

“Mrs Wilson considered herself to be in the throws of understandable upset at the time.

“On the day in question she had an errand to run in Aberdeen and left home that morning in Banff to drive to Aberdeen. Having undertaken her errand she was returning home to Banff that afternoon when the accident took place.

“During the journey, Mrs Wilson recalls hearing a song on the car radio which had particular significance to her late sister and caused her some upset.

“Mrs Wilson has no memory of the collision itself and is therefore not able to give an account second by second.

“It’s clear her attention must have lapsed.”

Sheriff Graham Buchanan handed Wilson an £800 fine and six penalty points.

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