NE Scotland, Orkney & Shetland

Driver who caused deaths of two scientists on A90 admits careless driving

Scientists Dr Stewart Rhind and Dr Julian Dawson Image copyright Not specified
Image caption Scientists Dr Stewart Rhind and Dr Julian Dawson were returning to Aberdeen when their car was involved in a collision

A woman has admitted causing the death of two leading agricultural scientists by careless driving on one of Scotland's busiest trunk roads.

Elizabeth-Anne Dixon, 35, pled guilty at Aberdeen Sheriff Court.

Dr Stewart Rhind and Dr Julian Dawson suffered fatal injuries after the car they were travelling in collided with another vehicle on the A90 Dundee to Aberdeen road two years ago.

The loss of both lives was described as an "immense loss" to Scottish science.

According to court papers, the 35-year-old drove her blue Volkswagen Golf from the central reservation onto the southbound carriageway of the road, near Fordoun, when it was "unsafe to do so".

Collision

Her actions then caused fellow motorist William Spiers to take evasive action to avoid a collision.

In doing so Mr Spiers was said to have lost control of his black SAAB 9-3 estate, crossing the central reservation before colliding with the silver Vauxhall Astra estate carrying a scientific team from the Institute.

Dr Dawson and Dr Rhind, who were based at agricultural research centre the James Hutton Institute in Aberdeen, both died from their injuries at the scene.

They had been returning to Aberdeen with colleagues after attending a meeting in Stirling.

Image copyright DEREK IRONSIDE
Image caption Both men suffered fatal injuries in the crash

Mr Spiers and the driver of the Vauxhall, Geoffrey Elliot, were also injured in the crash.

The A90 was closed for more than eight hours to allow collision inspectors to examine the scene.

Dixon, from Laurencekirk, had her sentence deferred until next month for reports and she was released on bail.

She has been disqualified from driving in the interim.

'Respected colleagues'

Dr Rhind, from Westhill in Aberdeenshire, worked internationally and had collaborated with scientific teams in the US and Australia on animal research issues.

He had worked at the Hill Farming Research Organisation, which later became the James Hutton Institute, since 1979 and had worked there ever since.

He was also the postgraduate student liaison officer for the Aberdeen branch of the Institute.

Dr Dawson, 42, was a graduate of Aberdeen University and had returned to the city to work for the Hutton Institute three years before the fatal crash.

He had completed his PhD at the University of Aberdeen in 2000.

Staff at the Hutton Institute described the pair as "valued and respected colleagues".

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