HGV driver convicted of causing the death of a cyclist by careless driving

18/06/2015

A Heavy Goods Vehicle driver who at an earlier hearing pleaded guilty to causing the death by careless driving of a pedal cyclist on the A49 in Shropshire was today sentenced to 26 weeks imprisonment, suspended for 12 months, at Shrewsbury Crown Court.

In the early hours of 23 June 2014, Michael Saunders left his workplace in Church Streeton and was cycling home along the A49 near Dorington, Shropshire when he was struck from the rear by a Volvo FH4 goods vehicle driven by 40-year-old Mark Baker.

The collision propelled the victim into the grass verge where he sustained fatal injuries.

The defendant did not stop at the scene and continued with his journey to Chirk near Wrexham.

Mr Saunders' body was discovered by a passing tractor driver and the emergency services were called to the scene.

Police recovered a headlight washer blanking plate from the roadside which was later identified coming from a Volvo FH4 goods vehicle. Automatic Number Plate Recognition cameras and CCTV footage matched the description of this vehicle travelling along the A49 around the time of the incident to the one which was driven by the defendant.

Baker was identified as the driver and he was questioned by the police. He denied being involved in the fatal incident claiming that the damage had been caused in a vehicle yard.

However, at a Plea and Case Management hearing on 26 May 2015, the defendant pleaded guilty to causing the death by careless driving. He was today given a 26 weeks imprisonment, suspended 12 months, 200 hours unpaid work, disqualified from driving for two years and to take extended re-test.

Robin Allen, Senior Crown Prosecutor from West Midlands Crown Prosecution Service, said:

"A prudent and careful driver would have seen Michael Saunders, who was using flashing lights, wearing high visibility bright yellow clothing, and more importantly, having seen the cyclist, they would have avoided colliding with him.

"Mark Baker failed to spot the victim which resulted in the fatal collision. The onboard computer system would have altered him of damage to his vehicle as fault codes would have appeared on his dashboard, however, aware of these faults and the collision, he continued with his journey and failed to stop and seek medical help for the victim.

"Thorough investigation by vehicle forensic experts and the police, ensured the vehicle was identified and as a result so was Baker. 

"The defendant then tried to evade responsibility by claiming that the damage to his vehicle occurred at a vehicle yard, but faced with the overwhelming evidence against him, he later changed his plea to guilty.

"Our thoughts go out to the family of Michael Saunders."