Driver, 84, Jailed For Causing Fatal Crash Near Aviemore

An 84-year-old man who killed a cyclist after ignoring warnings not to drive because of his failing eyesight has been jailed for 32 months.

A judge rejected a plea to spare first offender John Johnstone a prison sentence after he caused the death of Hanno Garbe by dangerous driving.

Lord Fairley said Johnstone had been told twice his eyesight did not meet the required standard for driving. Mr Garbe, 57, died in hospital after the crash near Aviemore last March.

Sentencing Johnstone at the High Court in Edinburgh, Lord Fairley told him: “You continued to drive a motor car when it was plainly dangerous for you to do so.”

The judge said optometrists had on two occasions warned Johnstone not to drive.Lord Fairley said that the death of Mr Garbe had “a devastating effect” on his wife Dagmar.

The judge said he was satisfied that only a custodial sentence was appropriate in the case.

He told Johnstone, of Kingussie, that he would have jailed him for four years if he had been convicted after a trial. Johnstone admitted causing death by driving dangerously last month.

Lord Fairley also banned him from driving for five years and four months and told him he would require to sit an extended test if he wanted to hold a licence in future

Defence solicitor advocate Marco Guarino said: “It is difficult to underestimate how hard it has been for him to come to terms with what has happened. It has had a profound effect upon him.

“He has indicated to me that he wishes to apologise most profoundly to Mr Garbe’s widow and his extended family.”

Mr Guarino said Johnstone, who has health difficulties, passed his driving test in 1958 and had no previous convictions. The defence lawyer argued that there was an alternative to custody in the “very unique case” of Johnstone.

He said: “He has not driven since, his licence has been revoked and there is no prospect of him ever driving again.”

Johnstone was driving home from a vehicle repair business when he collided with Mr Garbe, of Aviemore, on the B9152 near Loch Alvie. The pensioner was told months earlier by an optometrist that he had cataracts in both eyes and must not drive.


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