Brilliant gala day ended in road tragedy

Hamilton Sheriff Court heard harrowing details of accident
Hamilton Sheriff Court heard harrowing details of accident

A jury has heard how a Kirkmuirhill man tried in vain to save his pal after they were hit by a car as they walked home.

Tragedy struck after Thomas Rundell had enjoyed a “brilliant” day at Strathaven Gala, Hamilton Sheriff Court was told this week.

Nina Greenshields, 57, of Coalburn Road, Coalburn, denied causing the death of Mr Rundell by driving carelessly on Lesmahagow Road, Strathaven, in June 2017. The victim was aged 45 at the time.

Kevin McNulty, 25, told the court he escaped with cuts and bruises after being hit by the Ford Fiesta at 1.25am. He and Mr Rundell had decided to walk seven miles home to their respective flats in Kirkmuirhill because they couldn’t get a taxi.

Mr McNulty said he, Mr Rundell and another friend had spent most of the day at the gala park and then went to the pub.

He told the court: “We had a brilliant day.”

He said that although they had been drinking they were not drunk as they set off for home in the early hours. There were no street lights and it was “pitch black”, but they were walking on the grass verge at the side of the road. Mr McNulty said they were hit by the car from behind.

He told the court: “It all happened so fast. It was like a bang and I got thrown to the ground.

“I didn’t hear or see anything before that.

“I got up and could see the car. Tam was lying next to the front left wheel.”

The emergency services arrived and Rundell, who had sustained head and chest injuries, was pronounced dead at the scene 25 minutes after the crash.

Greenshields gave a negative breath test and police officers who examined her car found no defects which could have contributed to the collision.

A toxicology report revealed that Mr Rundell had alcohol, methadone and cocaine in his system when he died. There were also traces of street valiium and a prescribed anti-psychotic drug.

Mr McNulty denied a suggestion that he and Mr Rundell were engaging in “banter” as they walked, pushing and shoving each other playfully.

Sheriff Vincent Smith found the charge against Greenshields not proven.