A PENSIONER with an “impeccable” driving record landed herself a court bill after unwittingly hitting a pedestrian while driving under a bridge.
Rochelle Rainbow failed to stop after the wing mirror of her car struck the wrist of a woman, as she travelled under the Metro bridge, on Hedworth Lane in Jarrow.
South Tyneside Magistrates’ Court heard the 70-year-old was not aware she had been involved in a collision, until she was interviewed by police weeks later.
Rainbow, who has held a driving licence for nearly 40 years, had steered past a car waiting to enter the tunnel before striking the pedestrian, who was on a two-foot wide walkway on the side of the narrow, single-carriageway road under the bridge.
She pleaded guilty to a charge of driving without due care and attention, while two not guilty pleas for charges of failing to stop and failing to report an accident were accepted by the Crown Prosecution Service.
A taxi driver witnessed the accident and passed the registration plate of Rainbow onto the pedestrian.
In a victim statement read in court, which was taken in January, said: “I still don’t have full movement in my shoulder or my neck. My Christmas and New Year were written off. I have walked through that tunnel for 30 years, but can’t walk through there anymore.
Paul Kennedy, defending, said that the junction leading up to the tunnel is poorly set out, but said his client accepted she had made a “lapse in judgement”.
Rainbow, of Holland Park Drive, in Jarrow, was ordered to pay compensation to the victim of £200, was fined £40 and ordered to pay costs of £85, and a victim surcharge of £20. Her driving licence was also endorsed with four penalty points.
Road a ‘massive’ danger
A CAMPAIGNING councillor says a stretch of road under a Metro bridge in South Tyneside is a “massive danger” for pedestrians.
Linda Hemmer, UKIP member for Fellgate and Hedworth, has led calls for safety to be improved at the Hedworth Lane bridge for the past 30 years.
Coun Hemmer said: “I first petitioned about the bridge when I was 23. I’m 53 now.
“What a lot of motorists don’t realise is that the road narrows as you get to the centre of the bridge.
“The area where pedestrians walk is not very wide and it can be very difficult if you have children and a buggy with you.”
Coun Hemmer says that a raft of safety measures – such as introducing go-slow signs – have already been introduced.
However, she is keen for more improvements – such as the pedestrian area being more clearly marked out – to be introduced.
Safety improvements, such as resurfacing and re-painting of road markings, will be carried out on June 15.
The stretch of road will be closed while the work is carried out.