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Hartley Wintney mother's plea to older drivers after pensioner caused son's death
2:57pm Monday 16th September 2013 in News
A MUM has made an emotional plea for older drivers to get the help and advice they need before they get behind the wheel - after her son was killed by an 85-year-old man driving the wrong way along a road.
Pat Colquhoun's son Neil, of Birch Grove, Hook, lost his life as he drove home from work and was involved in a head on crash with the pensioners' car as he approached a bend on a dual carriageway, on the A30 between Water End and Hatch, on March 11, 2011.
Drivers on the opposite side of the country road had been desperately trying to attract the attention of the man, frantically flashing lights and waving through windows to try and get him to stop. But it ended in tragedy for 28-year-old Neil as his car caught fire and was smashed up so badly he had to be cut out of the wreckage.
The pensioner, a former GP called Turner Waddell, had lost the sight in one eye the day before the accident in March 2011 and was below the eyesight legal limit in the other eye. In August 2012, he was convicted of causing death by careless driving and sentenced to nine months imprisonment suspended for two years and given a lifetime disqualification.
But, two-and-a-half-years later the tragedy remains just as raw for Neil's mum who is backing a new police-led multi-agency initiative to help older drivers stay safe on the roads. The Older Drivers Forum was launched today in Hampshire aimed at being a one stop shop for anyone needing help and advice about staying behind the wheel in later years, from tips to information on sight tests.
Mrs Colquhoun, of Harebell Close, Hartley Wintney, said: “The first I knew about what had happened to my son was when the police came to my house at 1.30am. It was just horrifying, I couldn't believe it. He didn't stand a chance on a dark road with this car coming towards him at 60 miles per hour. The man who killed my son was stubborn and arrogant. His family later said they had tried to talk to him but he didn't listen. They should have reported him out of consideration for others on the road.
“It's just something that you don't think about happening to your family. Neil was just 28, he was my son and I would give anything to swap places with him.”
She added: “I am sure most people have been behind a driver at least once and thought to themselves that they really should not be on the roads. This is about getting people to stop and think and to get the advice and not to be afraid of losing independence if and when you decide it's the right time to stop driving.”
Awareness events which are free to attend, will take place across the county next week. If you are an elderly driver, or someone concerned or wanting advice for another, simply turn up between 10am and 4pm.
• Monday September 23 - Ferneham Hall, Octagon Room, Osborn Road, Fareham, Hampshire PO16 7DB
• Tuesday September 24 - Basingstoke Discovery Centre, 19/20 Westminster House, Festival Place, Basingstoke, RG21 7LS
• Wednesday September 25 - Lordshill Community Centre, Andromeda Road, Lordshill, Southampton, SO16 8BB
• Thursday September 26 - Milford on Sea Village Community Centre, Sea Road, Milford on Sea, SO41 0PH
• Friday September 27 - Portsmouth City Museum, Activities Room, Museum Road, Portsmouth PO1 2LJ
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