A motorist accused of hitting and killing a cyclist while under the influence of alcohol and drugs told police officers that there was “nothing dangerous” about his driving at the time of the fatal crash.
Gregg Marsh is currently on trial at Leeds Crown Court for causing the death by dangerous driving of cyclist Shaun Parkin-Coates, who was killed while cycling home from work after being struck from behind by Marsh on the A638 near South Elmsall, Wakefield in December 2019.
The motorist has also been charged with the alternative offences of causing death by careless driving while unfit through drink or drugs, and causing death by careless driving, the Yorkshire Evening Post reports.
Marsh has admitted driving the car that hit Mr Parkin-Coates at around 6.30am on 21 December 2019, but denies knowing that he had struck him, despite driving a further five miles to his home with a badly damaged car and a smashed windscreen.
The 24-year-old, who told police that he just wanted to get home from a friend’s house, was later arrested at his house in Ackworth, where officers found him in bed.
In recorded police interviews, which were played to the jury during the trial yesterday, Marsh described his version of events.
“I heard a bang but I did not see anything,” he said. “I did not think I hit a cyclist. I was looking through the windows. There was nothing dangerous about it.”
The court also heard that Marsh was found to be over the drink-drive limit following his arrest, although he claimed to officers that he only had “about half a Smirnoff [Ice]”. He then later admitted that he drank a small tin of cider before his arrest.
However, as his drink-drive test recorded 43mcgs of alcohol in 100mls of breath – above the 35mcgs legal limit – an expert told the court that if Marsh had only consumed the alcohol which he claimed, his breath reading should have been close to zero.
The court also heard that Marsh had traces of cocaine and cannabis in his system at the time of the fatal crash.
Mr Parkin-Coates had been cycling home from a night shift at the Next distribution centre when he was killed in the collision. Witnesses said that he was wearing reflective clothing, with lights on his rucksack and bike ensuring he was, in the words of one onlooker, “lit up like a Christmas tree”.
Another witness, was driving in front of Marsh at the time, also told the court yesterday that the 24-year-old drove so closely behind his car that he “could not see his headlights”, and that he was swerving in the road before the crash.
The trial is expected to last for the remainder of the week.
Last December, we reported that a drink driver who knocked a cyclist from his bike, resulting in his neck being broken, walked free from court after a judge, who described her as having had a “moment of stupidity”, handed her a suspended sentence.
Leah Roots pleaded guilty at Maidstone Crown Court to causing serious injury by dangerous driving – an offence which carries a maximum penalty of five years in jail – failure to stop following an accident, and drink-driving.
The court heard that CCTV captured the moment when Roots hit cyclist David Shirley, who was wearing a hi-vis vest, on Mill Hill in Edenbridge, Kent, on 8 August 2021. The footage showed that despite the force of the impact causing the bumper of her vehicle to become detached, she failed to stop at the scene.
Describing Root’s decision to drive while drunk as being a “moment of stupidity”, the judge sentenced her to 16 months in jail, suspended for 18 months, and ordered her to pay the victim £500 in compensation.
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Ryan joined road.cc in December 2021 and since then has kept the site’s readers and listeners informed and enthralled (well at least occasionally) on news, the live blog, and the road.cc Podcast. After boarding a wrong bus at the world championships and ruining a good pair of jeans at the cyclocross, he now serves as road.cc’s senior news writer. Before his foray into cycling journalism, he wallowed in the equally pitiless world of academia, where he wrote a book about Victorian politics and droned on about cycling and bikes to classes of bored students (while taking every chance he could get to talk about cycling in print or on the radio). He can be found riding his bike very slowly around the narrow, scenic country lanes of Co. Down.