Driver's momentary lapse of concentration led to tragedy

Neil Lyon was sentenced to 200 hours unpaid work by Liverpool Crown Court

Neil Lyon was sentenced to 200 hours unpaid work by Liverpool Crown Court

First published in News

THE widow of a man who died after a van ploughed into the back of their car expressed sympathy to a driver who was sentenced at court today.

Trevor Foster and his wife Ann had been in their Ford Ka on St Helens Linkway on the night of July 19 last year when it was struck by a transit van driven by 38-year-old Neil Lyon.

Both vehicles were said to be travelling at a safe distance between 30 to 50 mph but Lyon did not notice the couple slowing down and collided with the car swerving to the right and stopping 75 yards up the road.

Mr Foster, 63, who was a coach driver was left unconscious and had to be cut free from the wreckage.

His wife suffered a black eye and pain to her chest and back.

Immediately after the impact Lyon from Central Drive in Haydock ran over to the vehicle and apologised saying he had taken his eye off the road for a split second.

Mr Foster suffered multiple rib and spinal fractures and underwent surgery at Walton Hospital on July 25.

Prosecutor Simon Duncan said that he developed an acute infection which led to severe swelling of the spinal cord and brain and he died six days later.

In a hearing at Liverpool Crown Court Judge Andrew Menary QC explained that in a moving impact statement Ann Foster said she felt unable to attend the sentencing because she is still suffering from her loss.

But he added: “She is not seeking any form of retribution against you and it is her prayer that you and your family find the ability to come to terms with what has happened.”

Banning him from driving for 12 months, Judge Menary also sentenced Lyon, who pleaded guilty to causing death by careless driving, to 200 hours unpaid work and fined him £100.

The court heard that Lyon, who has no previous convictions, had been momentarily distracted by a “jingling” on the left hand side of his dashboard, which was probably a missing key, and took his eyes off the road.

The judge added: “It was the sort of every day event which occurs to lots of motorists. The circumstances of this accident are yet another reminder of the very great need for all drivers, however experienced or inexperienced, whatever the circumstances, to maintain at all times complete concentration of the road ahead."

Eric Lamb, defending said that Lyon, who is a carer for his mother, offered a heartfelt apology to Mr Foster’s family. He had also been referred by his GP for psychological counselling as a result of the incident.

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