A lorry driver who hit two Worcestershire cyclists from behind, killing one of them, has denied causing death by dangerous driving and an alternative count of causing death by careless driving. Speaking to police after the 2018 crash, Richard Merris said he believed he had left enough room when passing.
Worcester News reports that Merris was driving on the A449 in the direction of Worcester shortly after 11am on October 22 when he attempted to pass cyclists Barry Brettell and William Higgins where the road narrows into single carriageway at Hartlebury.
Brettell was pronounced dead at the scene, while Higgins was taken to Worcestershire Royal Hospital with serious injuries.
Both cyclists had been wearing light-coloured or fluorescent clothing.
Merris told police the men had been cycling in a normal fashion and that he believed he had left enough room to pass them.
"As I say I haven't really taken much notice – they were just there" he said.
When he heard a bang, he initially thought he had a tyre blowout.
Footage of the incident was captured by the CCTV of a nearby metal yard and played to Worcester Crown Court.
The jury also heard from Colin Ward, who was driving immediately behind the lorry.
Ward, who estimated he had been driving at around 40-50mph, said didn’t see the cyclists before the crash.
He said: “As I came up into the single lane section all I heard was a bang. Then I saw some debris falling across the grass.”
Ward said Merris braked sharply and the wheels started to smoke. As he came to a stop he saw the two cyclists lying on the grass verge.
Questioned by Merris’s defence team, Ward accepted that the HGV driver had not been driving erratically or speeding and that the standard of his driving had not caused him concern.
Refuse company worker Stuart Sullivan saw the cyclists with the lorry behind them from the opposite side of the carriageway just before the crash.
He said the two men were "clearly visible" and riding in single file.
When questioned at the scene, Merris told police: “The two of them were parallel and one of them wobbled out.”
The case continues.
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