A 38 year old doctor panicked when a spider dropped on her lap as she was driving her car causing an accident that led to the death of an elderly motorist.
Dr Amy Elizabeth Walpole, was driving her red Mazda MX5 and went into panic when the spider fell from the sun visor. The GP was seen waving her arms frantically before smashing into the oncoming car of 87-year-old John Evans, Llanelli magistrates court was told.
The prosecution, Vaughan Pritchard-Jones, said: “Walpole explained that a spider had dropped from her sun-visor and landed in her lap. With her fear of spiders, she went into a panic as she tried to throw the spider out the car. With this distraction, the doctor drifted across the road causing the collision.”
John Allchurch, in mitigation, said Walpole was arachnophobic. “It was a large spider which she was terrified of and tried to flick out of the window,” he said.
John Evans, the eighty seven year old driver of the other vehicle, suffered fractures and damage to his heart in the collision. He was able to walk from his car to an ambulance but unfortunately died the next day.
Dr Walpole, of Penymynydd, near Llanelli, south Wales, pleaded guilty to causing death by careless driving. David Powells, the presiding judge banned Walpole from driving for twelve months and ordered her to carry out 80 hours of community service.
The judge said that they were dealing with a tragic accident. However, the witness account of seeing the doctor’s arms waving around when the spider dropped was consistent with what she had said and her arachnophobia.
He went on to say there were no aggravating circumstances. The family of John Evans had asked for Walpole to be dealt with leniently as they were aware of her good reputation as a GP in the area. “This is not a case for prison, it is a case for a community order,” David Powells went on to say.