An elderly woman sustained life-changing injuries when she was hit by a van in Melksham.
The 88-year-old victim was walking through the Gompels Pharmacy car park when she was struck by an AAH Pharmaceuticals delivery van on 10 May this year.
The Ford Transit, driven by Uziel Vasconcelos De Andrade, pulled past the entrance before arcing round in reverse and travelling rearwards towards the building entrance.
As he reversed the van, he collided with the elderly woman – who was facing away from the vehicle. She immediately fell to the ground before the driver, and his colleague, rushed to her aid.
Prosecutor Pauline Lambert told Swindon Magistrates’ Court on Wednesday (28 September) that the van was examined following the incident and had a working reversing camera and rear parking sensors. The Transit did not have reverse warning sounds.
The victim sustained a broken pelvis in two places, muscle injuries and heavy internal bleeding. She was hospitalised for ten days, before being discharged with a zimmer frame.
De Andrade, of Queens Road, Clifton, Bristol, pleaded guilty to driving without due care and attention.
Addressing the 33-year-old defendant, District Judge Joanna Dickens said: “They [the Crown Prosecution Service] say you did not look in your reserving camera enough.”
To which he replied through a Portuguese interpreter: “I can not look at the camera image all the time, I was checking the wing mirrors. I just could not see her.”
He said that he had been dismissed from his job as a result of the incident, but has a new job as a delivery driver for a different firm.
Judge Dickens responded: “This was a really serious offence, there were life-changing injuries to this lady. I suspect her life will never be the same again, because of her age and because of the severity of her injuries.
“She was there to be seen. You are a professional driver, looking behind you is what you absolutely have to do with you’re reversing, and you didn’t take nearly enough care.
“I accept that you didn’t intend to do this and you thought you were doing enough. I also accept that when I look at the position of her – and it’s absolutely not her fault at all – she would have been positioned in your blind spot.
“But the arc of your journey backwards gave you plenty of time to see her, and you had a reversing camera.”
Judge Dickens said that if this offence had occurred later in the year, De Andrade would have faced a more serious charge of causing serious injury by driving without due care and attention. As the new law only came into effect after the incident, he could only be fined and disqualified from driving for his crime.
She said: “Ultimately you are a professional driver, the offence was serious and in my view, I have to disqualify you for a short period.”
A £300 fine and an eight-week driving ban were imposed, along with £70 costs and a £30 surcharge.
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