CRASH SCENE: Stan Watson was killed when his utility (right) and the four-wheel drive being driven by Orla Trickey collided on the New England Highway west of Singleton on September 10, 2014. Picture: Max Mason-Hubers.A WOMAN has admitted to her role in the road deathof Upper Hunter “local celebrity” Stan Watson, prompting prosecutors to withdrew amore serious charge.
Orla Marie Trickey, who suffered a broken leg and collarbone herself in the horrific head-on collision in 2014, pleaded guiltyin Newcastle Local Court on Wednesdayto negligent driving occasioning death.
The accident claimed the life of the much-loved Scone grandfather and prompted a flood of emotional tributes across several Upper Hunter communities.
The guilty plea was followed byprosecutors tellingthe court they would not be proceeding with a dangerous driving occasioning death charge.
Crash investigators had alleged that the rear tyres of Ms Trickey’s car, which was owned by the mining company she was employed at, were bald when the four-wheel drive crossedonto the incorrect side of the New England Highway west of Singleton and collided with Mr Watson’s utility.
A charge relating to the tyres was also dropped.
KILLED: Stan Watson.
Mr Watson, who was well-known acrossthe Upper Hunter through his work as a livestock market officer for the National Lifestock Reporting Service and reporting on ABC’s Country Hour, had been heading to Singleton to cover the cattle sales.
It was a trip along the busy highway he made every Wednesday.
But on themorning of September 10, 2014, and with the roads wet from significant downpours, Mr Watson never made it passed a left-hand bend just east of Bayswater Creek.
He suffered critical injuries in the impact and would die at the scene,despite the best efforts ofparamedics to save him.
Ms Trickey, 35,was also badly injured in the accident and was flown by Hunter Westpac rescue helicopter to John Hunter Hospital with multiple fractures.
Shewas able to recover from her injuries.
Mr Watson’sdeath sent shockwaves through the entire Upper Hunter,where he was described as being “a bit of a local celebrity” because of his radio following,and “one of nature’s true gentlemen”.
The 72-year-old father of five had worked as the livestock market officer for more than a decade.
Ms Trickey will reappear on the negligent driving occasioning death chargein Newcastle Local Court onon March 14.