Elderly driver must answer death crash charges - or face arrest, says judge

Ronald Johnson and his son Jack

Ronald Johnson and his son Jack

First published in News
Last updated

AN 84-YEAR-OLD woman accused of causing the death of a motorcyclist by careless driving has been given a last chance to appear in court to answer the charge – or face arrest.

District Judge Kristina Harrison today (Thursday, May 15) rejected claims that Margaret Kirkbride was too stressed to attend.

Mrs Kirkbride failed to appear at Peterlee Magistrates Court to face allegations she caused the death of father-of-two Ronald Johnson on Seaside Lane, Easington Colliery, on October 6 last year.

She did not appear at a previous hearing either, instead handing in a medical note saying she was suffering from Post Traumatic Stress Syndrome (PTSD) because of the crash and was not fit to attend.

Dr Phillip Woodhouse told the court today Mrs Kirkbride was still having flashbacks and nightmares from the accident and to attend now would worsen her mental condition.

Ms Harrison said: “I am not saying she does not suffer from difficulties, but on the other side of the coin the trauma suffered by the family continues as long as this goes on.”

She added: “I have not heard any reason in my mind why this lady should not have appeared in court today.”

Mr Johnson, 41, of Holmhill Gardens, Colliery, was riding his black Suzuki GSXR 600 when the collision happened as Mrs Kirkbride turned right.

Mrs Kirkbride of Burnside, Peterlee, is also charged with using a car with a lump in the tyre.

The case was adjourned to Newton Aycliffe Magistrates’ Court on Tuesday (May 20).

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