Moment of stupidity that cost a life
WHEN Caroline French climbed into the cab of her truck on that awful day in August 2011 she would have thought it was just another day at work.
By the time she got out her actions had resulted in the death of Andy Carter. It was a tragedy that shocked this city.
Mr Carter did nothing wrong – he was a biker who obeyed the traffic lights and could see he had a green light. What he did not realise was that French had ignored a stop signal.
It was certainly an act of stupidity on her part – but we don't really know why she did it.
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What we do know is she had done it before: She was given three points for doing the same thing in 2009.
We also know that before making the fateful decision to drive through those traffic lights she would have seen an amber light for three seconds and a red light for a further two. If that doesn't sound like long, count it down on a watch and ask yourself if it gives you long enough to react.
Mr Carter's family could have been forgiven for feeling French should have faced a prison sentence, but they showed extraordinary grace and composure in their reaction to the court's decision to impose a suspended sentence.
They say they now wish to grieve properly. That is a private process that will take many years but there is something each and everyone of us can do immediately to honour Mr Carter's memory. The next time you get behind the wheel pause for just a moment and consider the terrible consequences just one stupid decision can have.