Farmer fined after run-away trailer damages car

PUBLISHED: 10:18 28 July 2010

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A FARMER has been fined after a runaway trailer crashed into a car and injured the driver.

A FARMER has been fined after a runaway trailer crashed into a car and injured the driver.

Andrew Pearce, 53, was pulling the trailer, which was over-laden with bags of fertilizer, along the A10 when it broke free from his tractor and rolled down a hill.

It hit a Mercedes A Class car, which was written off, and injured the driver Patricia Fortune, St Albans crown court heard.

Mrs Fortune was driving home to Royston on the inside lane off the northbound carriageway, near Puckeridge, at 50mph - 60mph when the accident happened.

In a statement read to the court Mrs Fortune said: “I gripped the steering wheel hard. I tried to pull the car into the fast lane to avoid the trailer. The next thing I knew the trailer hit the passenger side of the car.”

The impact caused glass to shatter and she suffered a nose bleed and neck, shoulder, back and leg injuries.

She was taken to Addenbrookes Hospital in Cambridge and had three weeks off work.

As a result of the crash she said she had become a much more nervous driver. Her car was written off by the insurance company.

Maurice Aston, prosecuting, said the farmer was driving a John Deere tractor that was pulling a trailer for two and a half miles between one farm location and another at around five past five in the evening. He said the trailer was unbraked - meaning that the brakes on the tractor could not be coupled to the trailer.

The recommended load for an unbraked trailer is 3,000 kilos but the farmer was carrying 17 bags of fertilizer weighing 8,250 kilos.

Mr Aston said that the trailer was overloaded and that there was a defective spring which meant it was not properly secured.

He said: “It was a very old trailer. The defendant had a lackadaisical attitude towards the towing of a heaving load.

“When questioned he said he did not think that for an unbraked trailer the maximum load was three tonnes. He defendant denied he had done anything dangerous he said it was an unfortunate accident.”

Mr Pearce of Hamels Lane, Westmill, denied dangerous driving on 27 March last year, but he pleaded guilty to a lesser charge of careless driving after the trial started. The plea was accepted by the prosecution. He was fined £200, ordered to pay a £15 victim impact surcharge and had three points put on his licence.

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