Case Study

Man jailed for 18 months for causing death of pedestrian by dangerous driving

An 87 year old man has been found guilty of causing death by dangerous driving after hitting an 86 year old pedestrian in Coppice Row, Theydon Bois.

Peter Cole pleaded guilty to the charge of causing death by dangerous driving and making a false statement to obtain a driving licence when he appeared at Chelmsford Crown Court on October 29.

He has also been disqualified from driving for six years and ordered to take an extended test.

Investigating officer Sgt Catherine Offord said: “This incident will evoke memories of the crash in Colchester in February 2011 when 87-year-old Colin Hossfall struck 16-year-old Cassie McCord as she walked along Head Street. Cassie died from her injuries and her mother Jackie McCord set up a campaign called Cassie’s Law to campaign over unfit drivers.

“Presently police do not have any powers to suspend a person’s driving licence and would like the ability to do so pending a review of the facts by a court.

“However, this would not have stopper Peter Cole driving as he had not come to the police’s notice prior to the crash which killed Ambrose Skingle.
Peter Cole was 86-years-old at the time and had problems with his eyesight to the extent he has been advised by his opticians not to drive.
“He chose to continue driving and flouted the law, failing to let the DVLA know his eyesight was not at the required standard.
“When he was tested after the crash he could only read a number plate at 7.5m. The legal distance is 20.5m.

“Motorists who continue to drive when unfit are not only selfishly endangering the lives of others but also putting their own lives at risk.”
Gillian Jones, Ambrose Skingle’s daughter, said: “Nothing can bring my father back. Peter Cole took my father’s life because he considered his independence to be more important than the safety of others. Peter Cole’s failure, throughout the entire investigation and trial, to show any remorse for the suffering he caused my father and ultimately his death has made our grief even more painful and more difficult to bear.

“Peter Cole had been told by his optometrist, as long ago as 2009, not to drive because his eyesight was too poor and in 2010 he confirmed that he no longer drove. Yet he fraudulently renewed his driving licence in 2010. This cynical disregard for the law of the land and the rights of others shows an utter contempt for the general public.

“There has been much debate in the media about elderly drivers refusing to stop driving and doctors being reluctant to take away a patient’s freedom. But I would ask those concerned to think of the consequences when innocent people are deprived of their independence and their lives because of one person’s selfishness.

“Many people cite the cost of alternative transport. I would point out that Peter Cole lived on a bus route that would have taken him to his destination on the day he fatally injured my father, at no cost to himself thanks to the free bus pass. The cost to my father and my family has been infinitely greater.

“Finally I would ask the government to introduce a more rigorous system for the renewal of a driving licence that would require professional confirmation of an individual’s fitness to drive. From this case it is obvious that the system cannot rely on an individual having the integrity and consideration for others to stop driving when advised to do so. Surely the safety of the wider community is paramount?”

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