HEIDI, 81 SUED FOR £150,000 AFTER SHE DELAYS 3 TRAINS Oct 9 2005
OAP's shock over huge claimBy Gordon Currie
RAIL chiefs are suing an 81-year-old woman for more than £150,000 - claiming she delayed three trains when she crashed her car at a level crossing.
Network Rail launched their compensation claim against Heidi Beerensson in the same week the firm were fined £3.5million for safety failures in the Hatfield rail disaster which killed four people and injured 102Last night, Heidi, of Perth, who was going to a dog rescue centre at the time of the crash, said she was stunned by the huge claim.
She said: "The whole thing has been such a shock."
Network Rail want the pensioner to cough up £156,960 to cover the cost of penalties they incurred for late trains. They also want £600 to pay for the safety inspection which was carried out at the level crossing immediately after the accident.
They are even claiming back the £2.50 they were charged for getting Heidi's address from the DVLA.
The firm raised the compensation claim at Perth Sheriff Court and said Heidi was to blame for the accident and delays to three trains.
The company's action claims: "Network Rail have incurred penalties. These costs arise because three trains were delayed a total of 202 minutes.
"The collision was caused by the fault and negligence of Miss Beerensson. It was her duty to drive with reasonable care and attention. It was her duty to keep a proper lookout and not enter the level crossing when it was unsafe.
"She failed in her duties. But for her failures the accident would not have occurred." Retired social worker Heidi said: "I had held a driving licence for 53 years and never had so much as a parking offence.
"The sun was in my eyes that morning and I couldn't see properly where I was going. That was how it happened.
"When I was told about the court action it came as a bit of a surprise. It has taken a long time after the accident to come up."
ScotRail, GNER and Arriva trains were delayed after the accident at the Forteviot level crossing on December 30, 2003.
Heidi was banned from driving for two years and fined £200 at Perth Sheriff Court last August after she admitted driving carelessly.
The court heard how her Ford Ka collided with a London-bound GNER train carrying nearly 200 passengers and travelling at around 90mph The canine-loving OAP had been visiting the Perthshire Abandoned Dogs Society (PADS) kennels next to the crossing when she swerved round a lowered barrier and failed to stop despite warning lights flashing. The train driver was unable to stop in time.
No one on the train was seriously injured and Heidi also escaped with only minor injuries.
She had only just started driving again after a hip replacement op.
A few weeks after the accident PADS named a new £25,000 "cottage hospital" wing for unwanted dogs after the pensioner and charity volunteer
Not specifically the party itself, but it's the overall tory view of "Cars = good, Trains = bad" that I object to.laverack222 said:I can't really see how you can have a go at the Conservatives for this :?
Agreed. Also the minimum age raised to 21, IMO. The number of lives saved would be huge.AlexS said:
Perhaps all men should be banned from driving at the same time since they are statistically more likely to cause accidents?AlexS said:
I think you'll find that statistically this statement is incorrect and that under 21's are the age group most likely to be involved in road accidents. This isn't of course to say that ALL under 21 year olds are worse drivers than any other age, any more than ALL over 70's are. I don't really think you can generalise like that.AlexS said:
Cockfosters said:Excuse me? Is this the same Daily Wail that runs stories on how awful it is that trains run late, and how stupid it is that they don't stop within 20cm if a car ventures onto an LC.
What it had to do with Hatfield I haven't a clue.
That may be true, BUT there are many people who just think "to hell with the rules" as soon as they pass their test.AlexS said:Driving tests are more difficult than ever to pass. To ensure that you aren't just textbooking it on the rules, you also have to learn about the way that their car works, and it's specification. In that instance, the elderly are far more dangerous, as some have never taken a test, yet are entitled to drive under grandfather rights!
yorkie said:That may be true, BUT there are many people who just think "to hell with the rules" as soon as they pass their test.AlexS said:Driving tests are more difficult than ever to pass. To ensure that you aren't just textbooking it on the rules, you also have to learn about the way that their car works, and it's specification. In that instance, the elderly are far more dangerous, as some have never taken a test, yet are entitled to drive under grandfather rights!