A FORMER chief constable was found guilty yesterday of causing a head-on car crash after a sheriff didn’t believe her version of events.
Norma Graham, who was head of Fife police until last year, took the stand to defend herself but was convicted of careless driving.
The crash left a young woman in hospital for three days.
Graham, 50, is understood to be the first chief constable ever convicted of a crime in Scotland.
She said the crash happened after her steering locked but a sheriff said: “I do not accept the accused’s evidence.”
He fined Graham £400 with seven points on her licence. She got three points for speeding in another incident after the accident.
Graham, Scotland’s first woman chief constable, retired from her £120,000-a -year job on full pension months after the crash.
The top cop was driving an Audi A6 Quattro on the morning of February 7 last year when it veered across a country road near Fife police HQ in Glenrothes and hit a Renault Clio driven by physiotherapist Hannah Shedden, 25.
Witness Graham Campbell, who was in the car behind Hannah’s, told Kirkcaldy Sheriff Court: “There was an incredible impact.
The Clio went up in the air and on to its nose, then back down.”
Hannah, forced to give evidence by Graham’s not-guilty plea, broke down in the witness box as she relived her ordeal.
She said: “I saw a car heading straight towards me. It was on my side of the road. Originally I thought it was trying to avoid something like a cyclist but it just seemed to keep coming over.”
The court heard Hannah suffered a broken collarbone and knee injuries which needed surgery, and was off work for four months.
She said: “I was in hospital for three days.”
The Clio was a write-off.
Graham had just crested a hill when the crash happened. The court heard that the Audi seemed to appear out of nowhere and “shoot” on to the wrong side of the road.
She told the court she had taken account of the freezing conditions that morning and had been doing no more than 45mph.
And she insisted: “There was nothing I could do. I felt the car was locked and I couldn’t steer left.”
Graham said she would not have fought the case if she’d had any doubt about her innocence.
She added: “I felt awful that Hannah had to give evidence and was very concerned about her at the time of the accident.”
Police found small patches out of ice on the road, about 330ft from the crash site, and initially claimed they could “cumulatively” have caused Graham to lose control.
But crash investigator Alistair Bain, of Lothian and Borders Police, told the court he thought that was highly unlikely.
He added: “It is my opinion that the cause was an unknown driver error by the driver of the Audi.”
Finding Graham guilty after a two- day trial, Sheriff Grant McCulloch said: “I do not accept the accused’s evidence that the car would not let her steer to the left. It was examined and no defect was found.
“She was either not braking hard enough or her speed was such that hard braking had not enough effect on her speed.
“The force of the impact shows that the accused’s driving fell below the standard expected of a careful and considerate driver.”
Graham, of Dalkeith, Midlothian, refused to comment as she left court with her husband.
News published on: http://www.dailyrecord.co.uk/news/scottish-news/police-chief-guilty-horror-crash-1864984