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Thursday, 30 October 2014

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Driver’s deflated tyre sparked ‘catastrophic’ cycle accident between Barrow and Askam

A 31-year-old woman involved in an accident between Barrow and Askam which left a cyclist with “catastrophic” injuries has admitted dangerous driving.

Jodie Postlewaite was stationery in a car on the A595 between Barrow and Askam at the time because one of her tyres had deflated.

Judge Christopher Cornwall said her failure to ensure she drove in a car that was in a safe condition put herself, her young children and all other road users in danger.

Peter Metcalfe, 53, from Askam, was seriously injured in the incident. He shattered every bone in his face and had 37 pieces of titanium inserted during reconstructive work.

He broke both eye sockets, his nose socket and his jaw. He has also lost one eye and has only partial sight in the other.

Yesterday at Preston Crown Court Postlewaite, of Sharp Street, Askam, was sentenced after admitting dangerous driving because of the condition of her tyres.

A jury earlier cleared her of causing serious injury by dangerous driving.

The court heard there was no complaint about the manner in which she drove. The charge related to the condition her tyres were in.

She had been stationery when what the judge described as a “dreadful” collision took place.

A front tyre’s outer wall had shredded, consistent with it being run under-inflated or deflated. A police officer felt the exposed cords and lack of treads would have been obvious to anyone using the vehicle.

The officer was also critical of the front nearside tyres which were devoid of tread on the outer edge.

On the date of the offence the woman had been planning a day out. A problem with a tyre caused her to stop.

She drove to a garage and pumped more air into the tyre, rather than seek advice there. The tyre deflated again on the return journey.

Mr Jacob Dyer, defending, said the message of how important car maintenance was had been “drilled home” to her.

The court was also told that it had been a matter of pure chance that the tyre had deflated slowly, allowing her to pull into the nearside without incident. Things could have been very different if there had been a sudden deflation while travelling.

As it was, a catastrophic injury occurred, but the jury was not satisfied that her decision to drive was a real cause of Mr Metcalfe’s injury.

Mr Dyer said Postlewaite had not long passed her test at the time.

The judge said: “It was that, rather than deliberate and wilful risk-taking.” He added he had no reason to believe she was anything other than a careful driver.

He said: “However careful a driver you are, it may count for very little if the condition of your vehicle is such as to constitute a real danger.

“I have no doubt the remorse you feel is utterly genuine, that the consequences have already taken a heavy toll.”

Postlewaite was given a three-month community order and put under a curfew from 9pm to 6am. She was given a 12-month driving ban and will have to take an extended test before she can drive again.

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