Glasgow & West Scotland

'Blinded' driver caused Dunoon pensioner's death

James Buchanan Image copyright Spindrift
Image caption James Buchanan told witnesses he could not see David McQuiston because of the sun's glare

A cab driver who caused the death of 89-year-old man after being blinded by the sun has been banned from driving for three years.

James Buchanan, 50, failed to spot David McQuiston who was walking along the road with a shopping trolley in Dunoon, Argyll, in January 2015.

The pensioner had moved onto the road because the pavement was icy.

Buchanan was also ordered to perform 270 hours unpaid work. He admitted causing death by careless driving.

The High Court in Glasgow was told Buchanan, who has been a cab driver for 18 years, hit the trolley being pulled by Mr McQuiston, knocking him to the ground.

He died two months after the collision.

'Much-loved grandfather'

Judge Lady Carmichael told Buchanan he should have slowed down when the winter sunlight affected his ability to see.

"You drove for many years as a taxi driver without incident and I accept you are genuinely remorseful," she said.

"The harm you caused was devastating. He was a much-loved father and grandfather,"

The court heard that Mr McQuiston was returning home from visiting his wife, who had dementia, at the time of the accident.

Prosecutor Tim Niven-Smith said "the sun was low in the sky" with its brightness "reducing visibility" for motorists.

Mr McQuiston was not walking on the pavement but instead following the double yellow lines at the side of Argyll Road in Dunoon.

The 89-year-old - who lived in the town - was using a stick to help him and he was also pulling a dark shopping trolley.

Sun glare

Mr Niven-Smith said Buchanan failed to spot Mr McQuiston at the kerbside and his car hit the trolley. The pensioner fell and hit his head on the ground.

Buchanan immediately got out of his Seat Toledo and dialled 999.

He told one witness: "I could not see him. I did not mean it. It was the glare of the sun."

It was also noted a police car had to stop because of the glare.

Mr McQuiston was transferred by helicopter to an intensive care unit in Glasgow with fears he had a brain injury.

Following rehabilitation, he was sent to the Erskine care home in Renfrewshire.

Mr McQuiston died on 20 March 2015 after falling unconscious due to breathing problems.

It was found that he had died from a form of pneumonia, aggravated by the head injury.

Tony Graham, defending, said: "Mr Buchanan realises he has been responsible for the death of another human being. That will live with him for the rest of his life."