Promenade train driver ordered to pay £1,500 to injured mother

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The driver of Worthing’s promenade land train has appeared in court today after hitting a mother who was walking with her young son.

Katie Schmidt was walking with her 22-month-old son along the promenade in Marine Parade on Sunday, July 17, last year when she was badly injured by the train.

I do not want anything bad to happen to anybody. Accidents happen, we all make mistakes. I just do not want it to happen to anyone else

Katie Schmidt

The train driver, Sean Rowe, of Wallace Avenue, West Worthing, was ordered to pay £1,500 in compensation to her at Worthing Magistrates’ Court this morning. He had previously pleaded guilty to driving without due care and attention.

During the case, Rowe admitted he was unemployed and the train was ‘no longer’ as the licence had not been renewed last month.

Speaking after the sentencing, Mrs Schmidt said she wasn’t ‘on a boycott’ of the train or the driver, and was sad the ‘beautiful attraction’ was now closed.

She said: “I do not want anything bad to happen to anybody. Accidents happen, we all make mistakes. I just do not want it to happen to anyone else.”

Mrs Schmidt, a firefighter, said all she had wanted was a speed restriction imposed on the train and music or a bell to alert people nearby that it was there.

The court heard how Mrs Schmidt sustained a puncture wound in her buttocks, concussion and extensive bruising and grazes over her body during the collision, which required medical attention at Worthing Hospital.

Her son was not injured, but after the sentencing Mrs Schmidt said had he been on the other side of her ‘it would have been his head, not my bottom’.

During the sentencing, Rowe, 50, said: “I would like to point out it isn’t like driving a car; it is very busy driving on a Sunday. I totally regret the incident, I want to put it all to bed.”

Chairman of the bench, magistrate William Gibbons, said Rowe would get seven points on his licence and ordered him to pay £1,500 of compensation to the victim and £150 court costs.

Mr Gibbons said the decision had been made due to the severity of the injuries, adding: ‘we are very concerned about the effects of this incident’.

In court, Mrs Schmidt read a statement which said the incident had ‘put stress on [her] at work’ because her injuries meant she could not keep up with her colleagues.

The mother also said she had ‘vivid dreams’ since the collision, ‘not about the train, but about protecting my children’.

She added: “I found it very difficult since the crash as a mother and couldn’t do the normal things with my children.”

Worthing Borough Council has been approached for a statement.

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