Road ban for driver who hit lollipop lady in ‘moment of madness’

Malcolm Bowes
Malcolm Bowes

A ROAD-rage driver who clipped a lollipop lady as she helped youngsters across the road has been slapped with a 12-month ban.

Traffic lights turned to red and children crossed the road as Malcolm Bowes, 51, was stuck in the middle of a crossing in Hart Lane, Hartlepool.

Hart Lane pedestrian crossing

Hart Lane pedestrian crossing

Unable to see the traffic lights, Bowes sounded his horn in frustration after the children had safely crossed and the lollipop lady remained in the road.

But as she pointed to the fact the lights were still on red, which Bowes was unable to see, he drove forward and nudged into the woman.

Bowes’ moment of madness landed him in court where he was stripped of his driving licence for 12 months and ordered to carry out work in the community.

Hartlepool Borough Council’s traffic bosses said the incident, which is said to have left the lollipop lady upset and shocked, should act as a reminder to motorists to abide by the Highway Code.

Hartlepool Magistrates’ Court heard how Bowes, of Park Square, in Hartlepool, was in a bad mood on the morning of Wednesday, February 1, this year.

Behind the wheel of a Vauxhall Zafira, Bowes grew frustrated at the heavy traffic and found himself in the middlle of a pedestrian crossing as the lights turned red.

Alan Davison, prosecuting, said: “The traffic lights went to red but he couldn’t see because he was halfway over the crossing.

“The lollipop lady walked out and the children had crossed, but she still stood in the road.

“He thought there was no need, the traffic had cleared in front but she was still stood there so he sounded his horn.

“She pointed to the lights which were still on red but he couldn’t see, he moved forward and nudged the lollipop lady.”

Bowes, whose driving licence was clear of penalty points, pleaded guilty at the first opportunity to failing to stop at a school crossing patrol and driving dangerously.

Barry Gray, mitigating, told the court: “He is not a man who suffers with frustration but the crossing was clear and no children were waiting.

“She felt it was proper for her to remain there until the lights changed, and he felt she should have let him off the crossing.

“There was a stand-off and he started nudging forwards but he accepts his car did come in contact with her.

“He now knows he should have stayed stranded.”

The lollipop lady wasn’t injured in the incident.

Three years ago, a spate of similar road-rage incidents led the Mail to start a Stop for the Pops campaign, which was backed by schools, parents and road safety chiefs.

A Hartlepool Borough Council spokesman said: “The council provides school crossing patrols across the town delivering a road safety service which is used by many school children and adults and at the same time stops thousands of cars daily.

“We ask for drivers to show respect and to stop when asked to do so when the warden displays the sign and the large majority of motorists do.

“Failing to stop occurences are rare and this particular case will serve as a reminder to motorists that they must abide by the Highway Code and stop when a traffic light is on red.”

Bowes, who was handed a 12-month driving disqualification and ordered to carry out unpaid work, spoke to the Mail about “a moment of madness”.

He said: “It was completely out of character and I apologise to the lady concerned. It was a moment of madness.