‘Sun was blinding’ says Waterlooville death crash driver

Lauren Paul
Lauren Paul
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A SPORTS technician fought back tears as she told a court she would have done ‘anything’ to stop her car hitting a lollipop man.

Lauren Paul, 23, told a jury the sun was ‘completely blinding’ on the day her Nissan Micra collided with great-grandfather Ray Elsmore in Tempest Avenue, Waterlooville.

Paul, who works at South Downs College, said she completed her morning shift and returned home to relax for a couple of hours before setting out again at about 3pm for an informal meeting at the college.

She told the jury at Southampton Crown Court that as she turned into Tempest Avenue the sun was directly in her view.

‘I could see down my bonnet and as far as I could see down the road,’ she said.

‘I could not look directly upwards into the sun because it was so blinding.’

Paul, who has not driven since the accident, said she pulled down her visor and sat up taller to get a better view of the road.

Her speed was about 25mph, she said.

It was a cold day on December 5, 2012, and mist started to develop on the far left of her windscreen.

Paul said she turned on the hot air, but did not need to look down to adjust the knob.

She told the jury she heard a bang.

‘I originally thought my car had been bricked,’ she said.

‘I had no idea where it came from.’

Paul said she was in ‘complete shock’ as she got out of the car and realised she had hit someone.

She told the jury she had never recovered from the incident and had never returned to Tempest Avenue.

‘If I had seen him, I swear I would have done anything not to hurt anyone,’ she wept.

Mr Elsmore, 82, of Florentine Way, Waterlooville, who had been helping a mum across the road while holding his lollipop sign, died later that day in hospital.

In other evidence, PC Edward Wilson, a forensic collision investigator, said the fluorescent uniform of Mr Elsmore would have been made more ineffective because of the sun, particularly as it was shining from behind where he was standing.

But he said: ‘What is certain is that... the driver failed to adjust their driving to suitably perceive and react to the presence of the school crossing patrol.’

He said it would be ‘more difficult’ to see Mr Elsmore but ‘not impossible’.

He added: ‘If the driver is driving down the road and cannot see, I suggest they should have stopped.’

Paul, of Holly Drive, Waterlooville, denies causing death by careless driving.