Motorist admits fault after crashing into trap

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1914 court

Today at the North Riding Police Court, at Scarborough, Leonard Fossenheim, no occupation, Queen Villa, Harrogate, was summoned for having driven a motorcar in a manner dangerous to the public at East Ayton on July 19th.

Mr Tasker Hart was solicitor for the defendant, and Mr J Whitfield for the prosecution.

The offence was denied.

Mr Whitfield said that on Sunday, the date in question, a trap, or governess car, pulled by a pony, was proceeding from Seamer to Ayton. In the trap were the driver and two children, aged 9 and 5. As the trap was approaching the entrance to Ayton village, quite close to Mr Plaxton’s house at the corner, a motor, not driven by the defendant, passed in the direction of Seamer, going from Ayton. There was no difficulty in that motor passing, but shortly afterwards another car, driven by the defendant, came in the same direction. At that time the trap was near the corner where the roads from Stepney and Seamer meet. The trap was driven practically into the gutter on the near side of the road.

There was no suggestion of the car being driven at an excessive speed. It was not, but it collided with the trap. The occupants noticed that the car was going in a straight line for the trap, and unless something happened it was bound to collide with it.

Sergeant Peacock, while on duty about 50 yards away, and a Mr Ringrose, himself a motorist, also noticed it. An attempt was made to pull the pony on to the bank, one foot of the animal being got on the bank. The mudguard of the car went straight at the wheel of the trap. The mudguard was broken and the wheel of the trap damaged. The cap of the hub of the car wheel passed along the spokes, one being broken and the other loosened. The tyre of the trap wheel was also affected.

The occupants of the trap sustained injuries, they were suffering more or less from shock. He (Mr Whitfield) could only explain the matter in two ways. Either defendant was one of those who wished to drive all out of the road, or else he was very careless.

Ernest Bainbridge, platelayer, East Houghton, said he had been staying at that time with relatives who kept the Londesborough Arms at Seamer. He corroborated Mr Whitfield’s statement as to what occurred.

By Mr Hart: He did not call out to defendant, because there was not time. Had the trap been four inches nearer the bank the car might have passed the trap without accident, but there was plenty of room. Defendant pulled up 20 or 30 yards away. He gave the officer his card, and behaved, to witness, as a gentleman. Witness did not know that ten guineas had been paid in respect of the damage to the trap.

Mr Whitfield: It is being bargained for; it has not come yet.

Sergt Peacock and Mr RW Ringrose also gave evidence.

Defendant in the box, who said he resided at Queen Villa, Harrogate, said that a friend and his mother were in the car. He had had a car about three years, and had had no difficulty before. On the date in question he drove from Harrogate. A male friend and his mother were in the car. He had been on the same road before, but he was looking at the 
direction board at the side of the road, and was debating in his mind whether to take the high or low road to Scarborough. Thus, he did not see the trap. He admitted he was in fault, and that it was a pure 

The sum of ten guineas for damage to the trap would be paid by the insurance company.

Mr Hart submitted that defendant was not one who drove recklessly. That the whole matter was a pure accident, and that the case would be met by the infliction of a normal fine.

After retiring, the Chairman said that there might have been a serious accident. Fortunately there was not, but there might have been. Defendant would be fined £5 and costs.