Unaccompanied 'L' driver pressed accelerator instead of brake

Damage was caused to filling station fuel pumps and a van during the incident last year.

Unaccompanied 'L' driver pressed accelerator instead of brake

Pic: Google Maps.

A 46-year-old County Antrim woman who mixed up the brake and accelerator during an incident at a Clady filling station last year has been hit with a fine and penalty points.

Michaela McCaughey, of Gortaheran Crescent, Portglenone, entered guilty pleas to a number of motoring offences in connection with the incident on Clady Road on June 23 2020.

Police responding to reports of a two-vehicle road collision around 7.15pm on the night in question arrived at the filling station to find a car had driven into the forecourt and caused significant damage.

The court heard how McCaughey, learning to drive at the time, was not accompanied by her usual supervising driver, who she had just dropped home after receiving a phone call to say her child was ill.

During the return journey, another passenger travelling with McCaughey noticed her brother walking down the road, and asked if the defendant could go back to give him a lift.

The defendant then pulled into the filing station, but another vehicle travelling close behind her caused her to panic and press the accelerator rather than the brake pedal.

As a result, McCaughey had lost control of the vehicle on the forecourt and collided with the petrol and diesel pumps, before hitting a white van parked next to them.

The defendant was cautioned at the scene and later admitted to driving with no insurance, being an unaccompanied 'L' driver, not displaying 'L' plates and driving without due care and attention.

Defence said the learner driver suffered from fibromyalgia and arthritis, drove a mobility car and had been in a distressed state at the time of the incident.

She was said to have been in a 'total state of shock' at the time and was grateful nobody had any lasting injuries as a result of the incident.

Judge Dunlop endorsed the defendant's licence with six penalty points and issued fines totalling £550 for the offences, as well as imposing an offender's levy of £15.

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