Sequel to a collision in Fore Street

Hertfordshire Mercury, 5th June 1915


At Hertford Borough Sessions Albert Edward Huddleston, of 1 Cunningham Hill Road, St Albans. a Sergeant in the ASC, was summoned for driving a motor-car in Fore Street, in a manner dangerous to the public, on Sunday, May 23.  Mr T. Ottaway, of St Albans, defended.

William Henry Goodyear, butcher, of Church Street, Rickmansworth, said he was motor-cycling into Hertford via Castle Street, and when turning into Fore Street he sounded his horn.  When he got to the corner an Army Service Corps motor ran into him.  The collision resulted in the front wheel and forks of the witness’ machine being broken, but the witness was not knocked off the cycle.

The A.S.C. car was going at 20 mile an hour, and no warning of its approach whatever was given or the witness could have pulled up, as he was only travelling at a rate of 8 or 9 miles an hour.  The defendant was driving the car, and he had another man with him.  The defendant said it was a bad job, and asked the witness for his licence.

In cross-examination, the witness said he refused to show the defendant the licence or to give him his name and address.  He did not give his name until the police arrived.  The defendant fetched the police in his car.  The witness only saw the defendant two or three seconds before the collision, but he could judge that the defendant’s car was going at 20 miles an hour.

The witness admitted that he had travelled at 40 miles an hour on his machine.  The defendant was in the middle of the road.  The reason the witness was not knocked off his machine was because the motor-car caught the front of his front wheel and turned it round.

Harry Thrush said about 4 p.m. he was coming under the Town Hall Clock, when the defendant’s motor-car passed him on the correct side and the complainant came down Castle Street on his proper side.  The defendant seemed to hesitate, as if he intended to turn up Castle Street, and this hesitation seemed to result in the collision.  The complainant seemed to take a wide sweep to avoid the car, which was going at a good pace – about 15 to 20 miles an hour.  The motor-cycle was going about 7 or 8 miles an hour.  The witness had ridden a motor-cycle, and in his opinion, considering the danger of the spot in question, the speed of the car was high.

Pte A.J. Parker, of the 3rd Hertfordshire Regiment, said he was cycling past the Town Hall, when the motor-car passed him, going at quite 20 miles an hour.  He did not see the actual smash.  The car swerved onto the wrong side when near the ‘Mercury’ office.

P.s. Palmer said that the width of the road at this spot was 27 feet 7 inches.  The accident happened about the middle of the road, and there was a track where the car had swerved.  The speed limit was 10 miles an hour.

P.c. Tatham corroborated and said the car was going at a good 20 miles an hour.

The defendant said he had been in the Army 37 years, and had held a driver’s licence for over 12 years.  He had also held a Scotland Yard licence, and nothing whatever had been brought against him before under the Motor-Car Act.  He was in the A.S.C. and they were not allowed to go more than 15 miles an hour in the country and 10 in the towns.  He was well acquainted with Hertford.  He was with a convoy of three or four cars on the date in question, and was in the leading car.  He was not going at more than 8 miles an hour, and sounded his horn on approaching the corner in question.  He was on his proper side, and had begun to cross the road to get to the Wash, when he saw Goodyear coming round the corner at at least 20 miles an hour.  He endeavoured to avoid him, but it was impossible, and the motor-cycle ran violently into the witness’s fore near wheel, putting the steering gear of the motor-car out of order.  If the motor-car had struck the cycle it must have knocked it over, and very likely have killed the rider.  Goodyear refused to give his name, and he (the defendant) sent for the police.

In answer to Supt Pear, the defendant said he never came round the corner at more than 8 or 9 miles an hour.

Replying to the Clerk, the defendant said that if the motor-cyclist was going at around 20 miles an hour he would have expected him to have been knocked off his machine.

Corpl J.F. Main, of the A.S.C., said he was on the car at the time, and it was going at 8 to 10 miles an hour.

Pte A. Grantham, also in the A.S.C., who was in the second car of the convoy, gave corroborative evidence.

Sergt L.G. Pennell, said he was on the fourth car – the repair car – and after the accident he examined the defendant’s car, and found that the steering gear had been put out of order in consequence of having been struck on the near side.  The car was pulled up in less than its own length, which proved that it could not have been going more than 10 miles an hour.  The motor-cycle, judging from the damage done to both that and the car, must have run into the car.

The Bench retired and on their return the Mayor said the defendant would be fined £2 including costs.


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