Lady Susan Zetland was fined £500 for careless driving
Lady Susan Zetland, 77, was cleared by a jury of dangerous driving but given six points on her licence on top of the fine after admitting her actions were careless.
She was on her way to an early-morning fitness class at a hotel gym near Aske Hall, her home outside Richmond, North Yorkshire.
A court heard she ignored road signs and traffic cones and tried to cross the A66 in front of an oncoming car.
Her £30,000 Subaru Outback was struck by a Nissan Qashqai, which spun her across to the opposite carriageway where she was hit by a lorry.
The court heard that a contraflow was in place, along with cones indicating cars should only turn left.
Jurors at Teesside Crown Court deliberated for more than four hours before finding Lady Susan not guilty of dangerous driving.
Lady Zetland is married to Lawrence Mark Dundas
Speaking afterwards, she said: “I’m delighted and relieved. It’s not something I want to go through again. It has not put me off driving. I’m glad it’s over.”
It’s not something I want to go through again
Lady Susan Zetland
She told the court that her memory was “fuzzy” about the crash, adding: “I did not realise I had made the decision to go because the next thing I knew I had been hit.”
She said that morning a pick-up truck was ahead of her and it went through a gap in the cones as if to go straight across the junction or turn right.
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Lady Susan, the wife of the Marquess of Zetland, who sat in the public gallery, told the court: “I had been used to all the signs and notices being there and nothing happening. It seemed like for ever, they had been there several weeks.
“The van in front of me went through and perhaps I just followed. I don’t remember pulling out, the next thing I remember was being…bang!
“You just do follow other vehicles, don’t you?”
Prosecutor Paul Newcombe suggested: “It might have been better to make your own judgment?”
Lady Zetland said the incident has not put her off driving
Lady Susan replied: “Many things might have been better on reflection.”
Rod Hunt, defending, told the court that two of the signs on the approach to the A66 had in fact been incorrect, as they indicated there was no access to the road at all.
He also said one of the cones preventing cars going straight across or to the right was missing, leaving a gap.
He said it was “a puzzle of signs and cones where people had to work it out themselves”.
After unanimously clearing Lady Susan of dangerous driving, the jury instead convicted her of careless driving.
Passing sentence, Judge Howard Crowson said he completely agreed with the verdict. He fined her £500 and put six points on her licence.