Confused doctor, 90, ‘failed eye test before fatal crash’

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A CONFUSED 90-year-old retired doctor who killed a man while driving on the wrong side of a dual carriageway the day after he failed an eye test has been given a nine-month suspended sentence.

Dr Turner Waddell took a wrong turn on the A30 in the dark between Hook and Basingstoke in Hampshire and ended up in the wrong carriageway.

Drivers told police they flashed their lights and hit their horns to try and warn Waddell as he drove his Volvo at 60mph in the wrong fast lane on March 11 last year.

After about a mile, Waddell smashed into Neil Colquhoun’s Vauxhall Vectra as he drove from his work as a temp back home to Hook along the A30.

Winchester Crown Court was told Mr Colquhoun’s car then hit another car and burst into flames. He was killed by the collision and not the flames, the court heard.

Waddell and his wife, who were on their way to the theatre in Basingstoke from their then home in Andover Down, Hampshire, were also seriously injured and were dragged from their smoking car by other motorists.

Neil Sawyer, prosecuting, said: “It’s not clear how the defendant came to be on the wrong side of the road as his recollection of what happened is hazy.”

The barrister explained the best guess was that the doctor had turned the wrong way at what is known locally as the Red Lion Pub junction onto the A30 where the road markings although “adequate, could have been better”.

Even so the court heard that Waddell, now living in Porthcawl, near Bridgend, ignored no entry signs and road markings and the flashing lights of other motorists.

The markings have now been improved, the court was told.

Waddell, who had a clean driving licence, had also suffered a subdural haematoma before the accident and had been confused.

He had also been seen a doctor the day before and failed an eye test for driving but the doctor did not tell him not to drive because he assumed he was not.

He pleaded guilty to causing death by careless driving at an earlier hearing.

Mr Colquhoun’s mother Patricia said later that the doctor should not have been behind the wheel.

“Though I acknowledge that there are many safe elderly drivers on our roads there are some who are not, and families are sometimes too afraid to confront their elderly relatives as to their failing abilities.”