An ex-police officer whose unsafe overtake on a country road caused another car to hit a school bus has been spared a roads ban.
Neil McPherson’s careless driving on the B993 near Monymusk forced three other drivers to carry out emergency stops to avoid hitting him head-on.
One of those vehicles was an empty school bus returning to its depot at around 3.45pm on September 11 last year.
The 57-year-old ex-cop was heading towards Kemnay from Monymusk when he tried to overtake both a car and the 39-seater bus in front of him but failed to see the sharp left turn ahead of him, Aberdeen Sheriff Court was told.
Fiscal depute Emma Petersen said the bus was approaching the bend ahead when the driver first spotted McPherson’s grey Volvo in his wing mirror starting the overtake.
Emergency brakes all round
“He then saw the other car driving towards him on the other side and he was of the opinion there would be a collision between the car and the accused’s vehicle,” the fiscal said.
“He carried out an emergency brake in an attempt to allow the accused to move back on to the right side of the road again in front of his bus.
“The car coming towards them braked too to prevent a collision. All the vehicles came to a stop. The accused’s car stopped in line with the bus.”
Unfortunately, another car that was travelling directly behind the bus ran into the back of it due to the sudden braking.
“The accused reversed on to the correct side of the road and got out of the car to advise the bus driver he was not aware of the left-hand bend ahead,” she said.
Didn’t know the road
McPherson’s defence agent Gregor Kelly said his client, who was not present in the court, was not speeding but was “unfamiliar” with that stretch of road.
“Mr McPherson immediately, after all parties had pulled on the brakes, held his hands up and said had had a lack of experience of driving on that particular road,” he added.
“He’s a retired police officer and since his retiral has become a salesman in the farming community.
“He tells me he drives some 35,000 miles per annum for his work. Speed was not an issue and he was in no particular hurry. But he had not travelled that particular road, between Monymusk heading away from Tillyfoury, before. He wasn’t aware of the bend.”
‘Could have been a lot worse’
He said McPherson’s wife and son were reliant on his income and his job could be at risk if he was banned from driving.
“He appreciates it could have been a lot worse,” Mr Kelly added.
McPherson was initially charged with dangerous driving but pled guilty to a reduced charge of careless driving.
Sheriff Graham Buchanan told him: “What happened here, I am prepared to accept, fell just short of dangerous driving but it is a relatively serious case of careless driving.”
He fined McPherson, of Sunnybank Road, Aberdeen, £940 and handed him six penalty points.
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