A married dad and “respected” retired teacher was tragically killed in a horror A9 crash involving a lorry yesterday.
Tributes were being made for the man, who has been named in the community of Alness, Easter Ross, as 63-year-old Bernard McCourt.
He was driving a Fiat Bravo car when the collision happened between Tain and Invergordon, at the junction for Milnafua, just after 8am.
Mr McCourt, the sole occupant of the car, died at the scene.
Community leaders yesterday expressed their deep sadness following the loss of the former Alness Academy technical teacher.
Councillor Carolyn Wilson said: “Obviously the whole community will be shocked and saddened when they hear the news about Bernard.
“He was a much loved and respected teacher in the community and he was very hugely respected by all his colleagues and pupils. He recently retired from Alness Academy.”
She added: “Him and his wife were well known within the community and I know them quite well. Everyone is really shocked.
“They are a lovely family. I am sure his wife and children will be devastated by their loss.
“They have a genuine interest in what is going on in the community and an interest in other people. Him and his wife were always together, they were a lovely couple.”
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Meanwhile, councillor Pauline Munro added: “It’s shocking. It’s awful. My thoughts and sympathies go out to the family.”
The alarm was raised at around 8.10am.
Police, fire crews and an ambulance rushed to the scene, but the Fiat driver died of his injuries.
The driver of the HGV lorry, owned and operated by a local haulage and construction company, was treated by paramedics for non-serious injuries.
The A9 remained closed in both directions for more than six hours as police road accident officers carried out investigations.
Motorists were diverted via Invergordon prior to the road reopening shortly after 2pm.
Road Policing Sergeant Alasdair Mackay said: “Our thoughts at this time are with the man’s family and friends.
“I would urge anyone who may have witnessed the collision or could have dashcam footage to come forward as soon as possible.
“You can contact the Road Policing Unit in Dingwall by calling 101.
“We would like to thank everyone affected by the road closure for their patience and understanding.”
An ambulance spokesman said: “We received a call to attend an accident at the junction of the A9 and B817 in Alness.
“We dispatched one ambulance to the scene and conveyed one patient to the County Community Hospital in Invergordon.”