DINERS dived for cover and tables were flung away as a pensioner crashed her Mercedes into a supermarket cafe.
The wheels of 71-year-old Margaret Dickie’s C180 Sport were smoking as she ploughed into Morrisons in Illingworth, Halifax, a court heard.
Miss Dickie from Ogden, denied
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careless driving but was found guilty by Calderdale magistrates after a day-long trial.
Magistrates heard how diners were tucking into breakfast when they head the crash of breaking glass.
Ian Haswell, a driving instructor, said he was ordering food when he heard a loud bang.
“As the car came into the store, the wheels were spinning which was causing them to smoke,” he told the court.
He said he went across to the car, jumping in the passenger side and tried to move the gearstick into the park mode to try bring it to a halt.
“The driver was panicking she seemed hysterical,” he said.
After initially stopping, he said Dickie must have knocked the car into reverse as it started moving backwards. He shouted at Dickie to force her to stop the car.
He said another bystander then opened the drivers door to take the keys out of the car. Another witness, Ryan Parker, was tucking into his breakfast at a window table when he saw the car coming towards him.
“The next thing, the car was through the window,” he said. He said he did not have time to move from his seat and the table he was sitting on was pushed along by the car.
Mr Parker then tried to get out of the way, having to climb over the car.
He was later taken to hospital with glass cuts to his arm.
Prosecutor Carmen Sobande told the court Dickie had pressed the wrong pedal as she attempted to pull into a disabled bay outside the supermarket.
Dickie vigorously denied she could have used the wrong pedal and said there had been a fault with the car.
“You have accidentally put your foot on the accelerator and things just happened quickly,” asked Miss Sobande. “No, no no, I didn’t have my foot on the accelerator,” Dickie replied.
“The car ran away with me,” she said.
She said the car had previously starting racing while she was driving through Bradshaw. She had then taken it to a garage to be checked.
Mechanic Adrian Hands said Dickie had taken the car to his garage a year earlier complaining it had been racing. But he said there was no visible defect.
In her closing remarks Miss Sobande said: “The nature of the incident is such that it must have been due to Miss Dickie not paying due care and attention.
“The loss of control is because Miss Dickie has accidentally pressed the accelerator pedal.” Her solicitor Andrew Walker said: “She put the car into drive and it had simply taken off.”
“When she was parking that vehicle she wasn’t pushing a pedal, she was releasing one.
Miss Dickie now drives a manual Ford Fiesta.
“She’s fallen out with automatic cars,” said Mr Walker.
Chairwoman of the Bench Mrs Gilmore said: “We find the defendant is mistaken and that the defendants driving fell below the standard. We find the case proved.”
She was fined £200, told to pay £300 in compensation and £15 victim surcharge. She was also given eight penalty points.