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A driver who lost control of his car and crashed near to Lochnell Primary School was banned from driving for three months and fined £300.
‘If an accident like this had happened during school time, when a child had been standing in front of that sign, then a real tragedy could have resulted,’ said Sheriff Patrick Hughes at Oban Sheriff Court on Tuesday.
‘When any of us takes a vehicle onto the road we take on a responsibility for ourselves and also other road users. It is important we do everything we can to keep them safe.’
He told 21-year-old David Cioban: ‘The sentence imposed today is not just something that applies to you but must also send a message to all drivers in this area.’
Cioban, of 26 Strathmore Gardens, Rutherglen, who works as logistics and planning supervisor on a building project at Barcaldine, had admitted to driving without due care and attention.
The accident happened on February 11, last year, on the A828, within the 30mph zone and near Lochnell Primary School, Benderloch.
At the time of the incident, Cioban was travelling south towards Oban when he lost control of the vehicle, mounted the footpath, crossed the cycle track and collided with the sign, damaging both it and his car.
Procurator fiscal Eoin McGinty said a walker witnessed the crash: ‘The driver got out of the car to look at the damage. She made to go towards the car to see if he was OK but he got back in the car and, in her words, “he just took off”.’
The witness told police: ‘I saw the car spin and hit a big sign.’ Damage to the cycle track counter sign was costed at more than £40,000.
Police took debris from crash site and searched the area; they found Cioban’s car parked at his workplace and damage to the vehicle matched. He approached them and said: ‘Sorry guys it was me; this is my car.’
Cioban’s defence agent, Laura McManus, told the sheriff: ‘This happened when he had recently purchased the vehicle, a BMW with rear-wheel drive. The conditions were quite snowy and it is fair to say Mr Cioban was not accustomed to driving his vehicle in such conditions and he accepts that he lost control of the vehicle.’
An expert report prepared in his defence showed the sign had remained upright and the vehicle’s airbags did not deploy, indicating that its speed was not excessive.