White van man escapes jail after hitting family


01 Charles PerrieBy Lauren Crooks

A WHITE van man has been found guilty of careless driving after mowing down three children and their grandmother.

Charles Perrie, 55, from Alva, Clackmannanshire, lost control of his van and mounted the pavement, smashing into the family as they walked to school.

Pensioner Sarah Montgomery was left with countless breaks in her leg while youngest grandchild Emma, three, was rushed to hospital after the crash in Blackridge, West Lothian.

During a lengthy trial Perrie consistently denied the charge against him, claiming black ice on the road had been to blame. But yesterday at Linlithgow Sheriff Court, Sheriff William Muirhead found him guilty and fined him £300.

He was also given eight penalty points, bringing the total of penalty points on his licence to 12.

Speaking after the verdict, relieved Sarah said: “We are so glad this is over and that justice has been done.

“I don’t think for one minute he purposely set out to hurt us, but we are just glad we all lived to tell the tale.”

And daughter Lynn Woodside, 39, whose children Scott, 12, and Katie, eight, were also hit in the January 2008 collision, added: “The kids are all still quite anxious about what happened and even the noise of sirens can remind them of the day and it plays on their minds.

“We are happy we can now put this behind us.”

The court heard how the group were walking to school on a January morning when Perrie’s Vauxhaul van – which his work had hired for him – careered into their path.

Sarah was tossed into the air along with little Emma, while her cousins Scott and Katie escaped with “bumps in the bum”.

Emma was rushed to Yorkhill Hospital in Glasgow and has since made a full recovery.

But Sarah’s leg was broken in a number of places and she still needs regular hospital treatment, 18 months later.

Throughout Perrie claimed he had skidded on black ice, but giving evidence yesterday, he admitted he had not examined the roadway after the accident and had merely assumed the cause of the crash was black ice.

And collision investigators at the scene noted “no evidence of ice or frost” on the road surface.

Sheriff Muirhead told Perrie it was very difficult for him to assess the level of negligence, before he fined him £300 adding eight penalty points to his licence.