Careless driver crashed into taxi carrying special needs children in Sunderland – and escapes driving ban

Sunderland Magistrates' Court

Sunderland Magistrates' Court

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A careless driver who ploughed her car into the path of a taxi carrying three children with special needs has escaped a road ban.

The cabbie was unable to avoid Caroline Quinn’s car after she turned straight into his path as he drove along Burdon Lane, in Sunderland, after collecting the children from Portland School on July 16.

A silver Corsa turned right into his path and he collided with it straight on. He was unable to take evasive action

John McGlone, prosecuting

Sunderland magistrates heard how after causing the collision, the trainee nurse tried to blame the taxi driver, claiming he was driving at 60mph rather than 30mph, and pleaded not guilty to careless driving.

However, the 26-year-old, who was pregnant at the time of the crash, failed to attend court for her trial and was found guilty in absence.

Prosecutor John McGlone said the collision occurred at 3.15pm, shortly after the taxi driver had collected the children, as he does on a daily basis.

“A silver Corsa turned right into his path and he collided with it straight on,” Mr McGlone said. “He was unable to take evasive action.”

Giving evidence, the taxi driver said he had been travelling at 30mph. He said he was forced to straddle the central white line slightly due to parked cars on his side of the road, when the Corsa turned in front of him.

“She turned right into my path, she was coming from Ryhope,” he said. “I couldn’t avoid her at the speed I was travelling. I hit the brakes and I collided with her.”

Advanced police driver Pc William Huntley attended the scene of the accident and Quinn, of Saint Luke’s Road, Sunderland, told him she was pregnant and had pains in her stomach and chest.

“She said the taxi was responsible for the accident because it was travelling at 60mph,” he said.

However, there were no evidence whatsoever to indicate that the taxi was travelling at that speed or was otherwise at fault, he added.

The damage to the vehicles involved the wheels and side panels.

Defence solicitor Duncan Emmerson said Quinn has since given birth and is a single parent while studying to be a nurse.

She already has six points on her licence after being convicted in October of permitting a vehicle to be used without insurance and otherwise than in accordance with a licence.

Quinn was fined £120 and was told to pay a victim surcharge of £20 and costs of £300. Her licence was endorsed with five penalty points.