Beds, Herts & Bucks

Kempston lollipop lady: Brian Wright cleared of driving offences after accident

Sylvia Blackburn holding her great-grandchild Image copyright South Beds News Agency
Image caption Sylvia Blackburn, pictured with her great-granddaughter, remains in residential care

A man has been cleared of driving offences after a lollipop lady suffered "life-changing" injuries when she was hit by his car.

Sylvia Blackburn, 72, was on crossing patrol in Kempston, near Bedford, on 19 December last year.

She had serious head injuries and is still in hospital.

Brian Wright, 55, was cleared of causing serious injury by dangerous driving by a jury at Luton Crown Court, who heard he was blinded by the sun.

He was also cleared of a lesser charge of causing serious injury by careless driving.

Image caption Children were leaving school on the last day of term when Mrs Blackburn was knocked down on the Bedford Road crossing

The trial heard Mrs Blackburn's head hit the pillar of the windscreen of Mr Wright's VW Golf after he failed to stop at a pedestrian crossing at Bedford Road Lower School at about 15:40 GMT.

'Totally blinded'

She was treated at Addenbrooke's Hospital in Cambridge and is still undergoing treatment at Richardson Partnership Care Facility in Northampton.

The court heard the grandmother's family described her injuries as life-changing.

The prosecution said traffic coming from the other direction had stopped at the red light and Ms Blackburn had been wearing a long-sleeved high visibility orange and yellow coat.

Mr Wright, of The Dell in Kempston, told the jury he had been on his way to do some shopping for his mother and he could not remember whether the traffic lights were green or red.

"I understand Sylvia was a much-loved lollipop lady, who was loved by the children," he said.

"I was totally blinded by the sun. I just heard a bump. I was in total shock.

"Since that day, I have thought of nothing else other than Sylvia Blackburn and her family and the position I have put them in. I have turned their world upside down."

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