Reason for fatal crash will never be known

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A court has heard the reason why an accident occurred in which a 51-year-old woman was killed will ‘never be known’.

Derry Crown Court Judge Philip Babington made the comment as he sentenced 42-year-old Elaine Hill.

Hill, of Dunnabraggy Road, Moneymore, admitted causing the death of Joyce Wilson by careless driving on July 1, 2014.

The court heard that around 9 a.m. on that morning a two vehicle accident occurred on the Moneymore Road.

Hill was returning from night shift in Antrim Area Hospital to her home in Moneymore.Mrs Wilson was travelling from Cookstown to work in Magherafelt.

An eyewitness told police she saw the vehicle being driven by Hill veering over the white line and coming towards her.

The witness began to try and avoid the car but it struck the other woman’s vehicle front right to front right.

The deceased died as a result of multiple injuries sustained.Hill had to be cut from her own vehicle and taken to the Royal Victoria Hospital.

The court was told it was accepted there was ‘a singular absence of aggravating factors.’ There was no evidence of drink or drugs, nothing to indicate speed from either driver, the road was good and the weather was fine and sunny. Both vehicles were thoroughly checked and there were no defects.

During police interview, Hill said she could not remember anything about the accident and had no explanation for what caused it.

A defence barrister said his client had asked him to apologise to the family of Mrs Wilson. He added that Hill had wanted to do this from the outset.

Judge Babington said that the deceased was driving correctly at the time of the accident and there was ‘no fault to her.’ He said Hill was ‘regretful and remorseful’ but her driving had fallen below ‘careful and competent driving.’

The judge said what exactly happened will never be known but it was slightly more than a momentary lapse.

Judge Babington said the court could not forget the deceased and her family but told Hill ‘the court accepts you did not set out to cause that collision but you did.’ He ordered her to complete 200 hours community service and disqualified her for 12 months.