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Inverness pensioner tells court of being crushed by bus after car park dispute

The incident took place at Carrbridge in the Highlands
The incident took place at Carrbridge in the Highlands

A pensioner has told of being crushed between a moving bus and his vehicle following a heated argument in a Highland car park.

Les Crichton from Inverness, now 78, said he’d suffered a fractured pelvis and a head injury in the incident.

And he told the first jury trial at the new multi-million-pound Inverness Justice Centre since the Covid outbreak disrupted court proceedings last March he’d been fortunate not to have fallen beneath the wheels of the bus.

Nigel Dunn, 53, denies causing serious injury to Mr Crichton by driving dangerously in a car park in Carrbridge on March 22, 2017.

Jurors – who were located in Eden Court Theatre a mile away and linked by video to Sheriff Margaret Neilson’s court – were told that moments earlier Dunn had complained to Mr Crichton about his parking.

Serious injuries

Dunn, of Muirton Place in Boat of Garten, is then said to have driven off, trapping the pensioner – the former owner of Ness Freezer Foods in Inverness – between the two vehicles and fracturing his pelvis in two places.

The court was told he had been dragged between the two vehicles along the length of his Kia Sportage before falling to the ground and splitting his head open.

A trial of two parts. The trial is taking place at Inverness Justice Centre but jurors are at the Eden Court Theatre.  Picture by Sandy McCook.

Mr Crichton was working as a driver for the Harry Fairbairn Inverness franchise and had collected the SUV from Aberdeen.

He was driving back via Carrbridge where he stopped due to a call of nature.

Mr Crichton explained he had a muscle problem and preferred to walk only a short distance to the toilet by parking close to it.

However when he returned, Dunn became angry, claiming that he couldn’t get past his car.

Mr Crichton told the jury: “We had words. I suggested that if he couldn’t drive the bus through the space, he shouldn’t be driving, which was probably the wrong thing to do.”

He added Dunn had subsequently walked over to where he was lying, having been struck by the bus and asked “why I had walked between the car and the bus”.

“I said I didn’t,” he said.

Witness tells of lasting consequences

Mr Crichton was taken to hospital and said “things went downhill after that” as he fell ill a couple of days later.

It is suspected a collision with his vehicle’s wing mirror damaged his upper intestine, causing a leakage and poisoning his system.

He was in hospital for five weeks, in a wheelchair for the same period, and then had weeks of physiotherapy.

As a result of the fracture, his left leg is shorter than the other but his lop-sided gait has been corrected by a shoe support. He still walks with a stick.

Cross examined by defence solicitor Nigel Beaumont, Mr Crichton agreed that if he had not parked where he did, the accident would not have happened.

“But it does not get away from the fact that he squashed me against the bus and my car,” he told the lawyer.

CCTV footage showed Mr Crichton standing by his vehicle as the bus pulled away.

Asked by Mr Beaumont why he stopped, he replied: “I was en-route to getting into my car. I may have been waiting for him to pass.”

The trial continues.

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