Young driver who fatally struck pensioner found guilty of careless driving

A CARER for the elderly who drove her car into a pensioner as he crossed the road was found guilty today of causing death by careless driving.

Stacie McCarthy
Stacie McCarthy

Stacie McCarthy, 24, of Bramble Road, Worthing, was driving into Sompting Road, Lancing, on September 19, 2012, when she fatally hit 91-year-old Lewis Locke.

She denied the charge throughout her four-day trial at Chichester Crown Court this week, stating she did not see Mr Locke and had been blinded by sunlight moments before impact.

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But in finding her guilty, the jury of seven women and five men sided with the prosecution’s case that she would have seen the pensioner beforehand, had she looked properly.

McCarthy broke into fits of tears as the guilty verdict was read out in court.

During the trial, Edward Hand, prosecuting, said: “You negotiated that turn without enough care. If you had been more careful in taking that turn you would not have hit Mr Locke.

“Because as I say, the prosecution say, you didn’t take care. That is what caused the collision, isn’t it? And now, because of that lack of care, Mr Locke died.”

“That is not the case,” she said.

Expert collision investigators confirmed McCarthy would have been facing the sunlight as she turned into Sompting Road but said she would have had ample time to see Mr Locke before.

PC Adrian Short told the court: “She would have had the opportunity to see Mr Locke but once she started to turn into Sompting Road, her vision would have progressively diminished until turning into it.”

The jury took around four and a half hours to reach a verdict, eventually finding her guilty of the single count by a 10-2 majority.

McCarthy will be sentenced next month.

Mr Locke sustained ‘unsurvivable’ injuries in the collision and died later in hospital.

McCarthy was negotiating the turn at between nine and 13mph at the time.

For the full story, see the Worthing Herald, out Thursday, January 23.