Tayside and Central Scotland

Danish head-on crash tourist 'forgot to drive on left'

Jesper Hart-Hansen Image copyright PPA
Image caption Jesper Hart-Hansen drove for almost a mile on the wrong side of the road before the crash

A tourist who left a woman seriously injured after forgetting to drive on the left side of the road has been fined £8,000.

Jesper Hart-Hansen was also banned from driving for four-and-a-half years. He will have to pass an extended test if he ever wants to drive in the UK again.

The 50-year-old, from Denmark, admitted causing a head-on crash on the A85 near Comrie in January last year.

Lorna Elliot, 50, was seriously hurt in the collision.

Perth Sheriff Court heard how Hart-Hansen momentarily forgot he was not in his native Denmark and turned out of his holiday home onto the wrong side of the road.

He managed to drive for nearly a mile on the wrong side of the road before causing a head-on crash with the first vehicle he encountered on the A85.

Sheriff Lindsay Foulis told him he was imposing a significant fine because it was not practical to give him any other community-based work order as he lived outwith the UK.

Hart-Hansen's case made Scottish legal history as he became the first person to be convicted of a new offence of causing injury through dangerous driving.

Ms Elliot, from Oban, was off work for a year as a result of her injuries.

Financial investor and former Ebay executive Hart-Hansen, from Lyngby, Denmark, admitted causing serious injury by driving dangerously near Dunira Estate on 25 January last year.

Fiscal depute Sue Ruta said his rented Vauxhall Astra smashed into Mrs Elliot's Seat Ibiza on a sweeping bend and left her with a number of broken bones and other injuries.

"He stated to the police that he had been driving on the right hand side of the road due to the fact he had forgotten what country he was in," she added.

Solicitor David Duncan, defending, said: "His only explanation can be that it was his usual process to select that lane when entering a roadway.

"Unfortunately for Mrs Elliot hers is the first car he encounters. My client made a mistake when he entered the carriageway. He made a critical mistake at the outset of the journey which released a chain of events."

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