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Media captionDashcam footage of the crash has been released

An aristocrat who caused a three-car crash on a busy road has been cleared of dangerous driving.

Lady Susan Zetland, 77, of Aske Hall, near Richmond, North Yorkshire, tried to cross the A66 at the Hargill junction on 4 July.

Teesside Crown Court heard there was a contraflow put in place and cones indicating cars should only turn left onto the dual carriageway.

Zetland had admitted careless driving, but denied being dangerous.

After three hours of deliberation, jurors cleared her of the more serious charge.

Zetland had been on the way to the gym when her car was hit by a Nissan Qashqai after she pulled out in front of it, the court heard.

Image copyright PA
Image caption Lady Susan Zetland (left) was accompanied by her husband the 4th Marquess of Zetland during the trial

She was then spun into the other lane in her Subaru Outback and was hit by a lorry driving the other way.

She told the court her memory was “fuzzy” about the incident, adding: “I did not realise I had made the decision to go because the next thing I knew I had been hit.”

Rod Hunt, defending, told the court that two of the signs on the approach to the A66 had in fact been incorrect as they said there was no access to the road at all.

He also said one of the cones preventing cars going straight across or to the right was missing, leaving a gap.

It was “a puzzle of signs and cones where people had to work it out themselves”, he said.

Judge Howard Crowson said he completely agreed with the verdict, fined her £500 and placed six points on her licence.

Speaking afterwards, Zetland said: “I’m delighted and relieved. It’s not something I want to go through again.

“It’s not put me off driving, I’m glad it’s over.”

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