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Whitehaven woman cleared of dangerous driving charge – but convicted of careless driving

Rosemary Lane in Whitehaven, where the collision occurred

A MOTORIST who hit a pedestrian has been cleared of causing his serious injuries by dangerous driving – but convicted of careless driving.

Shocking CCTV footage captured the moment Ian Lithgow was struck by a Renault Clio as he walked up the steep Rosemary Lane in Whitehaven, and the car came down. One eyewitness told how Mr Lithgow – who suffered fractures to both legs and underwent surgery in hospital – was thrown into the air on impact.

The car driver, 61-year-old Karen Matthews, denied a charge alleging she caused him serious injury by dangerous driving, in August 2017.

During her trial at Carlisle Crown Court, Matthews wept as the CCTV crash clip was played to jurors. Despite a police officer concluding a likely collision cause was “inadvertent misapplication of the accelerator pedal”, Matthews insisted she pressed the brake and tried to avoid Mr Lithgow but “nothing happened”. Examination of her Clio showed no faults or failure which could have contributed to the crash.

Today (WED) a jury unanimously acquitted Matthews, of Harbour View, Whitehaven, of driving dangerously.

She was, however, convicted of the less serious alternative of careless driving, fined £500 and given six penalty points.

Judge Peter Davies called the harm she caused “severe”. “You didn’t want anything to happen to that man. I saw your reaction (in court),” said Judge Davies.

“You’re not a criminal, although you may feel like you’re one at the moment.” But the judge added: “You drive like that, you pay a price.”

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