Taxi driver killed pensioner after reversing up one-way street

A POPULAR taxi driver with a lifetime’s unblemished driving killed a pensioner after reversing up a one-way street to speak to friends.

A POPULAR taxi driver with a lifetime’s unblemished driving killed a pensioner after reversing up a one-way street to speak to friends.

Laurie Buer’s Mercedes people-carrier crashed into 68-year-old grandmother Doris Cornwall as she crossed Station Road in Clacton.

Buer, who moments earlier stopped to let a mother with a pushchair cross, drove past a taxi rank and fellow drivers called out to him as he passed, Chelmsford Crown Court heard.

The 47-year-old from St Osyth put his car into reverse and had gone just a few feet when he collided with mother-of-two who he had driven as a passenger on previous occasions.

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Mrs Cornwall, a “strong, very independent” widow who loved jive dancing hit her head on the pavement and died from her injuries in hospital the following day.

Buer pleaded guilty to causing death by careless driving at an earlier hearing and was yesterday banned from driving for a year, given a 12-month community order and 80 hours of unpaid work.

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The court heard since the accident Buer had quit his job because he did not want to get behind the wheel again after what had happened in June last year.

Judge Anthony Goldstaub QC, sentencing, said: “The defendant made an error of momentary inattention in the course of long years as a professional driver of almost unblemished record”.

Buer sat with his head bowed throughout the proceedings and showed no reaction as he was sentenced.

Mark Lakin, prosecuting, said some witnesses described Buer’s reversing to be “quick” whereas others said it had been a normal speed.

“There was no particular indication of excessive speed or distance. The defendant suggested that he moved only a few inches, some spoke of a couple of feet whereas others say it was some way more,” he said.

Mr Lakin said Buer admitted responsibility straight away, saying he had been reversing to speak with friends and told an officer at the scene that the car’s seating caused blind-spots when reversing.

The court heard that both Mrs Cornwall’s son and daughter had struggled to cope with the shock of losing their mother so unexpectedly.

John Caudle, mitigating, said Buer was a “very well liked and popular” man and was widely recognised as a careful driver with many drivers writing references for him.

Witness Samantha Mortimer described Buer attempting to help give Mrs Cornwall first aid although she added people did not seem to know what to do.

Mr Caudle said Buer was now unemployed although he did have work available to him once the court proceedings finish.

Speaking afterwards Inspector Steve Brewer, of Stanway road policing unit, said the incident had been captured on CCTV.

He said: “There is only one standard of driving; that of a careful and competent driver, Mr Buer reversed his vehicle in a one-way street and failed to see Mrs Cornwall.

“I have no doubt that the consequences of this crash will remain with him for a very long time but sadly for Mrs Cornwall her life was cut short as a result of these careless actions.

“Collisions like this clearly demonstrate why it is so important for drivers to pay attention at all times.

“Town centres are often very busy places, even at low speeds what can seem like a relatively minor incident can lead to very tragic consequences.”

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