I'm not to Blame
I'm not to blame
Feb 15 2008 by Sophie Doughty, Evening Chronicle
WITH her silver hair and benign smile, she doesn’t look like a motor menace.
But choir singing spinster Constancia Glavina has just been banned from the road for jumping a red light and hitting a girl of four on a pedestrian crossing.
Michelle Grey had always told daughter Emma it was safe to cross the road when the green man was lit-up.
But the youngster was knocked off her feet when 80-year-old Glavina went through the red light and collided with her as she drove to St Mary’s Roman RC Cathedral, in Newcastle, for choir practice.
Emma was left with cuts and bruises, and a permanent scar close to her eye.
And while Michelle, 29, from Scotswood, is just thankful her daughter was not seriously injured she said the youngster has been left frightened.
But instead of stopping to help her young victim, Glavina got out her car to berate Michelle for not keeping her child under control, before driving off without leaving her details.
Today, as she begins a driving ban, after pleading guilty to careless driving, Michelle has spoken of her shock.
“I just couldn’t stop shaking and Emma was screaming and crying,” she said. “At the time I was too shocked to be angry. But I’m glad she has been banned from driving.”
Emma was hit as she used a pelican crossing with her mum, on St James’s Boulevard, in Newcastle city centre, in November, the city’s Magistrates’ Court heard.
Fiona Varley, prosecuting, said: “Michelle Grey was in Newcastle with her four-year-old daughter and at about 5.45pm they approached a pedestrian crossing and Miss Grey pressed the button. When the green man came on they crossed the road, then a car came across the crossing and hit the child.
“As a result, the child fell on to the floor. The driver got out of the car and said: ‘Sorry, but you should have had a hold of your child’s hand’.”
A driver who had been travelling behind Glavina and stopped at the red light took a note of the pensioner’s registration and passed it on to police.
Emma suffered bruises to her back in the fall and was bleeding from her left eye. She was taken to Newcastle General Hospital for treatment.
Tim Gregory, defending, said Glavina, of Milvain Close, Deckham, Gateshead, who suffers from arthritis and osteoporosis needed her car to get about.
He said his client did not see the red light because she had been distracted by Emma, who Glavina said was misbehaving and jumping at the side of the road.
“This lady was driving very slowly her attention was distracted by a young girl on the side of the pavement waving her arms around, which to her mind was not being properly supervised by her mother,” he said. “She accepts driving without due care and attention but that was caused by the behaviour of the young girl.
“I have no doubt that she is of robust and sound mind. Anybody of any age can be distracted by that movement. She was very shaken by this herself.”
For the offence of careless driving Glavina, who told the court she could not remember how many points were on her licence, was fined £100 and disqualified from driving, for an unspecified period. She will not be allowed back until she has passed an extended driving test.
Afterwards, Glavina was unrepentant, and said: “I was distracted by the child because I wondered why she wasn’t being supervised by her mother. I didn’t see the red light.
“I was going to choir practice when I saw her waving about at the side of the road and not paying attention, which her mother should have been doing.
“There was nothing I could do. It all happened so quickly. I realised I was on the crossing but it was too late.”
But Michelle insisted her daughter had not been misbehaving.
“We were at the crossing and the green man came on. I said Emma could cross the road because the green man was on. I wasn’t holding her hand because I had my hands full of bags. You always teach your children that it is safe to cross when the green man in on. You just don’t think anybody is going to keep driving.”
And Emma’s grandmother, Jennifer, 48, added: “Even if Emma had been jumping around, kids do jump around, but she should have been concentrating.”
The victim clearly got in the car and drove it carelessly forcing this blameless motorist to have an accident.
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