Former driving teacher fined over crash

Craven Herald: The defendant appeared at Skipton Magistrates' Court The defendant appeared at Skipton Magistrates' Court

A former driving instructor who claimed she had lost control of her car on black ice has been found guilty by Skipton magistrates of driving without due care and attention.

Luana Maki, 33, was on her way to Skipton Auction Mart on the morning of January 19 when her Mazda car went out of control on a bend on the A59 at West Marton.

It had been snowing, but the day itself was clear, and the road had been gritted, the court heard.

Maki’s car went through a barrier at the side of the road, demolished a section of drystone wall and came to rest in a field.

Maki was attended at the scene by firefighters, paramedics and the police, and taken to hospital by air ambulance.

Maki, who denied driving without due care and attention, had been a fully qualified driving instructor at the time with additional skid training, the court heard.

She said she had gone into a bend at the right speed and kept close to the kerb as she had been taught, but the car had gone out of control. She had attempted to get the car under control, but had run out of road, and the last thing she could remember was heading towards the barriers.

Maki, of Longsight Road, Osbaldeston, who defended herself, said she had done everything possible to keep her car under control and was sure the accident was down to black ice.

But the court heard from farmer Isobel Rawsthorne, who saw the car leave the road, and traffic officer Steve Gardiner that the road had been well gritted and that there was no black ice.

Mrs Rawsthorne was on her way home heading towards Clitheroe when she had seen what she believed was a black silo bag cross the road in front of her.

Cross-examined by Maki, Mrs Rawsthorne was insistent that the road was damp but gritted and was “very good” bearing in mind the weather.

TC Gardiner, from the Harrogate Road Policing Group, said he had checked the condition of the road as he arrived at the scene and again after Maki had been taken to hospital.

He said the section of road had an additional “egg shell surface” because it was considered an accident blackspot and had been recently gritted.

He said there had been no other accidents reported either before or after the incident and that in his considerable experience the road was safe for him to ride at speed in order to arrive from Settle in only ten minutes.

Cross-examined by Maki, he said there was “absolutely no ice” on the road.

Magistrates agreed there had been no black ice on the road at the time and found Maki guilty.

Maki, whom the court heard already had six points on her licence, for driving without insurance from April last year, had her licence endorsed with a further five points and was fined £145. She will also have to pay costs of £620 and a victims surcharge of £20.

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