Lorry driver charged with cyclist’s death

VICTIM: Christopher Griffiths
VICTIM: Christopher Griffiths

A LORRY driver is standing trial accused of causing the death of a cyclist in a collision on the A19.

Paul Dove is alleged to have driven his Mercedes Actros lorry into the back of a Raleigh bike ridden by Christopher Griffiths, from Wynyard on the outskirts of Hartlepool.

The 54-year-old denies causing death by careless driving on January 23 last year, and is being tried at Teesside Crown Court.

Mr Griffiths, 50, was killed as he rode his bike to work on the southbound carriageway of the A19 between the A689 and A1027 junctions, near Billingham.

Prosecutor Paul Cleasby said there were no witnesses to the impact, other than Dove, of Aldwych Square, Sunderland.

The court heard it was dark when the accident happened at 7.10am, but visibility on the unlit stretch of the road was otherwise good.

Accident investigator Pc Robin Turner said the reconstruction showed Mr Griffiths, 50, would have been visible from the cab of the lorry’s tractor unit from between 120 and 205 metres.

“This would have given the driver between five and eight seconds to react,” Pc Turner told the jury. “In his statement to us, Mr Dove said he only saw the cyclist from about six metres away.

“The rear nearside wheel of the trailer locked 70 metres from where it came to rest. It is not possible to say if the brakes were applied before or after the collision.”

The jury heard Mr Griffiths was cycling on a metre-wide margin of the road to the left of a white rumble strip.

Dove gave evidence at his trial yesterday where he gave an account of what happened.

“I was coming around a long sweeping bend,” her said. “I caught a flash of colour in my eye, by then I was on top of what I now know to be the cyclist.

“At the time I thought he was beside his bike, and I still think that now.

“He seemed distracted and I hit him.

“I heard the bang, like a metally sound, and then I could see an object in the mirror.”

Dove told the jury he braked as hard as he could.

“I slammed on the anchors. I kept the lorry between the white lines, stopped near to the side, jumped out of the cab and ran back.

“I went over to see if I could give him some aid.”

Dove said he has been lorry driving for 20 years, and has a clean licence.

The trial continues.