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Tourist’s dangerous driving caused police car to crash into tree on the NC500

The A835 forms part of the NC500 tourist route. Image: Google
The A835 forms part of the NC500 tourist route. Image: Google

A tourist who tried to overtake a slow-moving motorhome on the NC500 found himself on a collision course with a police car.

Robin Tuddenham’s black Audi pulled into the opposite lane and straight into the path of the cop car, causing it to swerve off the road and crash into a tree.

The 53-year-old, who lives in Yorkshire, had been holidaying in Ullapool with his wife at the time of the incident, Inverness Sheriff Court was told.

Fiscal depute Susan Love said on September 16 last year, at around 9.30am, a pair of cyclists were travelling at around 10 miles per hour along the popular tourist route, followed by the motorhome.

She said: “The driver [of the motorhome] felt it was unsafe to attempt an overtake so she kept a safe distance.

“She checked her mirror and became aware of a dark vehicle approaching from her rear. There was a marked police vehicle coming towards them driven by a police constable.”

Ms Love said Tuddenham pulled into the opposite lane, forcing the experienced police driver to take evasive action.

“The police witness braked hard and propelled the vehicle they were driving to the verge,” said she added.

The court heard the police car – which had three officers inside – then hit a tree, causing it to veer back onto the road and collide with Tuddenham’s vehicle.

Ms Love said following the collision Mr Tuddenham “appeared to be visibly shaken and freely admitted to the officer that he had been in the wrong”.

Dangerous driver apologises to police

Tuddenham was not present at a hearing yesterday, but his solicitor Ronnie Simpson told the court: “Mr Tuddenham wishes to apologise to the police officers involved and pass on his gratitude to the police officer who was driving.

“It is accepted that had it not been for his actions it could have been a lot worse.”

Mr Simpson explained his client, a department head in the civil service, had “misread” the actions of the vehicle in front before attempting the overtake.

“His perception was that the motor home was slowing to allow him to pass,” he said.

Sheriff  Robert Frazer disqualified Tuddenham, of Todmorden, from driving for 18 months and fined him £1,275.

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