Woman Using Med Defense: No Alcohol or Illegal Drugs Involved: Trial in Progress — (BBC News)

SSRI Ed note: Woman on antidepressants gets new prescription, feels like she "can't be bothered", causes car crash that kills two.

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BBC News South Scotland

18 November 2010

Kelso woman lodges medication defence at crash trial Ms Angus said she would not have driven if she had thought she was not fit to do so

Court hears of double death crash

A driver has told a court she has no memory of how she became involved in a car crash in which two pensioners died.

Claire Angus, 48, of Kelso, denies causing the death of Alison Wood, 79, and Janet Allan, 73, by driving without due care and attention.

She has lodged a special defence that she was not responsible for her actions due to a reaction to medication.

Ms Angus said she remembered feeling tired and waking up and someone telling her she had been in an accident.

Edinburgh Sheriff Court was told that people who worked with her in a flower shop in Kelso remembered she was “not her usual self” on the morning of the accident in February 2009.

She had been taking medication for depression for some time but was prescribed another drug on the day of the crash to treat a swollen foot.

Ms Angus told the court that while at work after taking the first tablet she had felt like she “could not be bothered”.

However, after lunch she had picked up a nine-year-old boy to take him to a hospital appointment.

She said she felt fine initially but added: “Just all of a sudden I felt strangely tired.

“I thought it was unusual because I had only been driving for five or 10 minutes, so I stopped at the entrance to a field to be safe.”

After a few minutes, Ms Angus said she thought she was fine and drove off.

That, she said, was the last thing she could remember until someone was waking her up and told her she had been in an accident.

Broken back

She added: “I remember someone putting their hands over my ears because they were going to cut the door and they were going to have to pull me out the car.

“I said my stomach was sore.

“The next thing I knew I was in the Borders General Hospital and a girl was saying they were going to cut my jumper off.”

She told the court she would never have driven if she had known she was not fit to do so.

Ms Angus spent a month in hospital having operations on a broken back and ribs and her intestines had been punctured.

She told the jury: “I want to personally thank all those people who helped me.”

Earlier, Prof Colin Espie, Professor of Clinical Psychology at Glasgow University, had told the court that the combined medications could have caused dizziness and loss of consciousness.

Ms Angus, he said, could have suffered a progressive impairment of judgement.

The trial continues.