Case Study

Driver charged over lollipop man's death

Incident date: 
Wed, 5 Dec 2012

A woman has been charged with causing the death by careless driving of an 82-year-old lollipop man in Hampshire.

Lauren Paul, 22, hit Raymond Elsmore in her Nissan Micra on 5th December 2012.

Mr Elsmore suffered head injuries in the accident on Tempest Avenue, near Queen’s Inclosure Primary School in Waterlooville.

Ms Paul, of Ramblers Way in the town, is due to appear at Portsmouth Magistrates’ Court next month.

Mr Elsmore, also from Waterlooville, had worked as a patrol man for the school for 13 years.

Ms Paul is accused of causing death by careless driving. She has yet to make a plea.

A trial date has been set for November 11th 2013.

  • UPDATE (12/11/13)

Driver Lauren Paul, 22, wept as a jury was told how the lollipop man was “scooped up” on to her car and thrown into the road outside Queens Inclosure Primary School in Waterlooville, Hampshire.

Paul, of Ramblers Way, Waterlooville denies a charge of causing death by careless driving following the fatal crash, which happened as she drove to work at a sixth form college on December 5.

Matthew Lawson, prosecuting at Portsmouth Crown Court, described how Mr Elsmore had been escorting a pedestrian, Toni Ponting, who was pregnant at the time, across Tempest Avenue, Waterlooville, at about 3.05pm.

He said that Mr Elsmore had been stood in the southbound carriageway holding up his lollipop sign when the Nissan Micra driven by Paul collided with him.

Mr Lawson said that Ms Ponting “saw the Nissan Micra approach from behind, instead of slowing or stopping, it ran right into Mr Elsmore.

“Mr Elsmore was scooped up on to the car which shattered the windscreen, he was thrown forward on to the road as the Nissan Micra braked and stopped.”

Mr Lawson said that when Ms Ponting asked Paul what had happened, she replied that she couldn’t see.

Another person who arrived shortly afterwards, heard Paul, who was hysterical, say that the sun was in her eyes.

The court heard that the defendant added: “I didn’t see him, I would have stopped if I had seen him.”

Paul was also heard to say that her windscreen had misted up and she had been trying to demist it, Mr Lawson said.

Mr Lawson said that Paul told a police officer: “I was driving along the road, the sun was low and my screen was starting to mist.

“I pulled my visor down and heard a bang. I never saw the guy from first to last.”

Mr Elsmore was taken by air ambulance to Southampton General Hospital where he died of chest and head injuries suffered in the accident.

Mr Lawson added that the police sergeant “noted that the southbound carriageway was direct into the sun which was very low and blinding.”

During a police interview, Paul gave a statement saying that she was travelling to South Downs College where she works.

Mr Lawson said that she told police that: “She had left the house to drive back to work, she was not in a hurry and was feeling alert and not stressed. She was familiar with the route having travelled it many times before.”

He continued: “However as she was driving down Tempest Avenue, she was driving directly into the sun which was low in the sky, so she had slowed down, she believed her speed was about 25 mph.

“She had put the driver’s sun visor down and taken steps to adjust her driving position.”

He added: “There was suddenly a bang and something seemed to hit her windscreen, at this point she performed an emergency stop and saw the body roll down the bonnet and land on the road.”

He said that she said she was in “severe shock” after the accident and added that hearing of Mr Elsmore’s death had a “traumatic effect” on her.

He said that she told officers: “She was desperately sorry for what had happened to the gentleman and the loss his family had suffered.

“She couldn’t say where the gentleman had come from and hadn’t seen him him, possibly she had been blinded by the sun for a second or two in the approach to the accident.”

Mr Lawson said an accident investigator, who visited the crash scene, experienced how the bright sun had the effect of “blending in” with the colour of a colleague’s high visibility jacket similar to that worn by Mr Elsmore at the time of the accident.

Investigations established she had been travelling between 21mph and 28mph.

But Mr Lawson said that the Highway Code stated that a driver should “slow down or if necessary stop” if dazzled by bright sunlight.

He added: “The defendant’s driving at the time fell below what would be expected of a competent and careful driver in all the circumstances.”

  • UPDATE (24/06/14)

The case has been dropped against Ms Paul.

She faced two trials – one in November at Portsmouth Crown Court and a second in May at Southampton Crown Court.

The jury in each case was discharged.

On 23rd June, the prosecution offered no evidence during a short hearing at Portsmouth Crown Court, which means the case will not be proceeded with.

CTC's view: 

The defendant claimed to be familiar with the route on which she killed Mr Elsmore, it would therefore not be unreasonable to expect her to have the knowledge that a lollipop man would be positioned on the road at that time. She therefore should have been fully aware of the dangers of driving on that stretch of road without having clear visibility.

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