Young woman ‘can’t remember knocking down and killing cyclist’

Jordan McDowall, 21, has been accused of driving onto an opposing carriageway and colliding with Kevin Gilchrist, 51.

Young woman ‘can’t remember knocking down and killing cyclist’ iStock

A young woman sobbed as she told a court she could not remember killing a cyclist after reportedly running him over.

Jordan McDowall, 21, is charged with causing the death of Kevin Gilchrist, 51, on the A8, Greenock Road, Inchinnan, Renfrewshire, on July 28, 2018.

Prosecutors state McDowall drove her white Ford Fiesta dangerously and failed to pay proper attention to the road in front of her.

It is claimed she crossed onto the opposing carriageway and collided with Mr Gilchrist, who was riding his bicycle.

The charge states McDowall then collided with trees and shrubbery on the verge of the road which caused damage to her car.

Mr Gilchrist is stated to have been so severely injured by the collision that he died.

McDowall, of Erskine, Renfrewshire, denies the single charge at the High Court in Glasgow of causing Mr Gilchrist’s death by dangerous driving.

McDowall in evidence told jurors that she was 18-years-old at the time of the incident and had been driving for seven weeks.

She claimed that she was a “confident” driver and was wearing sliders on her feet on the journey from Bishopton, Renfrewshire.

Prosecutor Paul Kearney asked if sliders were good footwear for a car journey.

McDowall replied: “I couldn’t say.”

The court heard witness Gordon Lang state that McDowall’s car was “veering” on the road.

Mr Kearney asked: “Is it not the case you were fully conscious but for whatever reason not paying attention to the road ahead?”

McDowall replied: “No.”

Mr Kearney followed up: “You didn’t brake, did you?”

McDowall again replied: “No.”

She stated she usually drove between 40mph up to the maximum speed limit on the road of 50mph.

McDowall said she had “no recollection” of the collision and that there was a “gap” in her memory.

She added that the last thing she remembered was turning on the Red Smiddy Roundabout.

McDowall also stated that she only came through when the air bags in her car deployed.

She disagreed with a witness’ suggestion that she was seen on her phone outside of the car immediately after the collision.

Mr Kearney said: “If the witness is right, it means you were conscious enough and alert enough to be using your phone straight after an episode of loss of consciousness and memory.”

McDowall responded: “I don’t know what happened.”

It was put to her that she was overheard asking her mum to bring her juice on the phone call.

Mr Kearney also stated McDowall repeatedly said that she was going to be in “so much trouble”.

The prosecutor asked if this was something she would say if she did something wrong.

McDowall replied: “Maybe.”

She later stated that she could not remember PC Douglas McMillan asking 30 minutes after the collision if something had happened while she was driving and her saying “no”.

Mr Kearney said: “Is it not the case you didn’t tell him what you are saying today as what you are saying today isn’t true?”

McDowall replied: “It’s not the case.”

The court was told a breath test was carried out at the scene which came back as negative.

McDowall agreed with her QC Brian McConnachie’s comment that she never suggested that she experienced a loss of consciousness.

Mr McConnachie asked McDowall, who was crying, if she knew how the incident happened, and she replied: “No.”

He followed up: “Have you given it any thought?”.

She again stated “no”.

The advocate lastly asked if she had come up with an answer, and she replied: “No.”

McDowall earlier claimed she was uninjured after the crash and that there were no problems with her heart.

Cardiologist Stuart Hutcheon earlier told jurors that before the incident McDowall was not prone to blackouts or fainting.

He agreed with a professor’s suggestion that for this to occur at the single event of the road traffic incident was “quite a coincidence”.

Jurors were also read agreed evidence in a joint minute document at the beginning of the trial.

It stated that Mr Gilchrist died as a result of the collision due to “serious injuries to the chest”.

The document added that McDowall’s car was examined and there were “no defects that contributed to the collision”.

Furthermore, McDowall’s telematics box reported “no evidence of inappropriate driving on the day or prior to the collision”.

The trial continues before judge Lord Armstrong.

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