NE Scotland, Orkney & Shetland

Woman guilty of A90 pensioner death crash

Anna-Marie Strachan Image copyright Newsline Media
Image caption Witnesses saw Anna-Marie Strachan's car veer onto the other carriageway

A 29-year-old woman has been found guilty of causing a pensioner's death by driving dangerously on an Aberdeenshire road.

Anna-Marie Strachan, from Fraserburgh, lost control of her car on the A90 near Rathen on 31 July 2014.

The driver of the other vehicle involved, 73-year-old James Thomson, was taken to hospital but died.

Strachan, 29, was also found guilty of injuring Mr Thomson's wife Frances and two young children in the car.

The High Court in Aberdeen heard that Strachan, who was driving a Peugeot 308, was seen drifting onto the other carriageway into the path of an oncoming car and did not take any action to avoid the collision.

Mr Thomson was badly injured in the head-on crash along with his 71-year-old wife, who was a passenger in the car.

They were taken to hospital where they were treated for their injuries but Mr Thomson died the following day.

'Explosion of plastic'

Another motorist travelling behind Strachan on the Fraserburgh to Peterhead road described the crash as an "explosion of plastic".

Witness Steven Sutherland, 55, said he pulled over and ran up to the crash scene to help the casualties.

Another passing driver was trying to get two young children, aged two and seven, out of the car to safety because there appeared to be smoke inside the vehicle and he feared the car might be on fire.

Giving evidence in court, Mr Sutherland said he spoke to Strachan who was clearly injured and trapped in the car.

He said she was sitting in the vehicle with a mobile phone in her hand and told him she was trying to call her brother.

Strachan went on trial accused of causing the collision after consuming prescription drugs and holding a phone, but both allegations were later deleted from the charge.

The court was told that there was no record of Strachan having made or received a phone call or text message when the crash happened.

She told a paramedic who arrived at the scene that she was taking pain relief for chronic back pain.

Brake lights

Another witness, Jacqueline Kelly, told the jury at the High Court in Aberdeen that she also saw the collision while travelling behind the Peugeot on the rural road.

The secondary school teacher said: "As I was going along, there was a change in the car in front of me.

"It sort of very slowly started gliding on to the other side of the road."

Mrs Kelly, 49, told the court: "I just remember thinking 'where's that car going?' Then there was the impact."

Advocate depute Stewart Ronnie asked: "Did you see any brake lights being applied?"

She replied: "Not that I can remember."

Strachan fractured her hip and ankle in the crash and now walks with the aid of a walking stick.

She denied causing the crash but was found guilty of the offence by a majority verdict.

Sentence was deferred for background reports until 12 April at the High Court in Glasgow.

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