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Lancashire
Wednesday, April 17, 2024

Elderly driver jailed for killing pedestrian pensioner

A Blackburn man advised not to drive because his eyesight was so bad has been jailed for 32 months for killing a pedestrian.

Neil Pemberton (81) of Brownhill Road (pictured) could only read a car registration plate from 2.5 metres away. The legal requirement is 20 metres.

Doctors told him to stop driving in 2013 due to the issues with his eyes, but he carried on.

Catastrophic injuries

On March 17 last year, he collided with Peter Westwell (80) who was crossing the A666 at Langho, at the junction with Whalley Road when he was struck by Pemberton’s Honda Jazz.

The Billington man was thrown into the air, suffered catastrophic injuries and died at the scene. He had been out walking rather than driving for medical reasons – as advised to by his doctor.

Pemberton was driving at 48mph in a 30mph zone at the time of the collision.

He admitted causing death by dangerous driving at Preston Crown Court, and sentenced to 32 months behind bars.

Selfish

Judge Simon Medland KC told Pemberton he knew he was suffering from extremely poor eyesight and was told back in 2013 not to drive.

He added that Pemberton selfishly prioritised his own convenience by continuing to drive and was repeatedly dishonest when he re-applied for his licence and indicated to the DVLA there was nothing wrong with his eye-sight.

Tribute

Peter Westwell’s daughter Hazel paid an emotional tribute to her father and pleaded with people to take responsibility for their fitness to drive.

She said: “I really wanted to thank the people who stopped that day and tried to help my dad, it means I know he wasn’t on his own.  They were all so kind.

“Dad was walking that day because he had been told by his doctor and his family that he needed to stop driving so he did. I would ask people to please take personal responsibility when it comes to their health and driving and I would also ask family members to have that difficult conversation should they have any concerns.

“My dad was an active, fit, kind loving family man.  He fought and worked hard to stay independent and for him to die as a result of someone else’s selfish actions is almost impossible for us to bear”.

Personal responsibility

Detective sergeant Helen Parkinson said: “First and foremost, my thoughts today are with Peter Westwell’s loved ones. They have lost a much-loved dad, grandad, brother, uncle and friend in what was an entirely avoidable tragedy.

“Very sadly and ironically Peter was walking that day as he had been told he couldn’t drive for medical reasons.

“Drivers have a personal responsibility to make sure our roads are as safe as possible and making sure your eyesight meets the standards of vision for driving is an important part of that, just like checking your car is in a fit state to drive. Tragically, Neil Pemberton’s failure to meet that personal responsibility had all too obvious catastrophic consequences.”

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