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Court finds driver liable for injuries suffered by US tourist

A driver involved in a 2018 crash in Southampton was liable for injuries suffered by a tourist, the Supreme Court has found.

Stephanie Ann Soule, from Grand Junction, Colorado, said she suffered lingering injuries after she was struck by a car driven by Reuben Waldron on March 22, 2018.

However, Mr Waldron argued that Ms Soule had struck his car as he was waiting to pull on to Middle Road.

During two hearings in March, the Supreme Court heard that Ms Soule – who lived in Bermuda between 1971 and 1974 – had visited the island in 2018 with her family.

On the day of the collision, she said she was riding a rental scooter west on Middle Road near George’s Bay Road with her husband and mother ahead of her and her father behind her.

Ms Soule said that as she passed a side road near the D&C Grill West restaurant, a car abruptly pulled out of the side road and into her lane.

She said she struck the car near its front wheel and was thrown forward, landing on her front right side.

Ms Soule was taken to King Edward VII Memorial Hospital for treatment and later was transported by air ambulance to St Mary’s Hospital in Colorado, USA.

In a statement of claim, Ms Soule said she suffered injuries to her nose, ribs, knees, femur, nerves and tibia plateau and was immobilised for a year.

She said the incident also left her unable to work in her former profession, which had caused a lack of income in addition to pain and suffering.

The court heard Ms Soule had claimed $156,000 in lost wages and $52,890 in medical expenses.

However, Mr Waldron disputed her version of events.

He told the court that he had picked up his lunch from the restaurant and pulled up to the intersection to wait for a clear opportunity to turn on to Middle Road.

Mr Waldron said that when he stopped his car, the bumper was slightly in the westbound lane, but not enough to block traffic.

He claimed that he saw Ms Soule approach the intersection and heard her say: “Oh no he is going to pull out and hit me.”

Mr Waldron said she then made a sharp left turn and rode into his front bumper.

He added that he was never charged with any offences relating to the collision and he had his car repaired for $2,000.

Puisne Judge Larry Mussenden said in a judgment dated June 30 that he found Ms Soule had been driving properly at the time of the collision based on her evidence and that of her family members.

However, he rejected Mr Waldron’s version of events as inconsistent and said there was no evidence to support his suggestion Ms Soule had been riding in an “aggressive and reckless” manner.

“I take into account that Mr Waldron stated that he was frazzled and angry about the collision,” Mr Justice Mussenden said.

“In my view, this has clouded his version of events such that his instructions to his counsel as contained in his counsel’s letter, his witness statements and his evidence are not consistent about the riding manner of Mrs Soule.”

He said that the evidence had suggested a van had partially obstructed Mr Waldron’s view of Middle Road so he needed to take special care when entering the road.

While Mr Justice Mussenden found that Mr Waldron was liable for the collision, he said he would hear both parties further on the issue of damages at a future date.

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