Teacher who injured dad and son in crash ‘forgot we drive on left’

A retired teacher who caused serious injuries to two men in a head on collision said she had forgotten which side of the road to drive on since her return from holiday abroad.

Rosemary Saunders, 70,  was at the wheel of her Nissan Leaf when she collided with a Vauxhall Astra on the right hand side of the A5087 Coast Road at Bardsey on December 9 2019.

The driver Russell Leach and his father Alfred Leach were both seriously injured in the crash and were taken to hospital for treatment.

At the scene, close to the Old Mill pub, Saunders apologised to the two men, saying: “I’m so sorry. It is my fault. I’ve just come back from holiday and forgot we drive on the left hand side of the road.”

Russell Leach suffered three cracked ribs and injuries to his knee and ankle. He was discharged from hospital the same day but needed to use a walking stick for three months.

In a victim impact statement, 10 months after the collision, he said he still walked with a limp and had not been able to work. He lost £3,000 of overtime before taking early retirement.

Alfred Leach spent three nights in hospital suffering a fractured sternum and wrist injuries.

He was unable to give a statement due to his age but his son said he still struggled with strength when he tried to grip things.

Saunders was arrested on suspicion of causing serious injury by dangerous driving. 

She told police she had just come back from South America where she had been a passenger in vehicles driving on the right.

On the day of the collision the road was quiet and she initially thought Mr Leach was on the ring side of the road as she came face to face with the Astra on the blind bend.

Saunders, of Park Drive, Barrow, pleaded guilty to causing serious injury by dangerous driving and appeared at Preston Crown Court to face sentence.

Judge Beverly Lunt, sentencing, said:  “These were horrible injuries to two people.  She is a 70 year old lady of impeccable character and hitherto good driving standards.

“She is plainly devastated at the mayhem, pain and injury she has caused.”

The judge handed her a 12 month sentence suspended for 12 months and ordered her to pay £5,000 compensation and £340 costs.

She also banned the defendant from driving for two years and ordered her to take an extended retest before she gets behind the wheel again. 

Lancs Live – Cumbria