Van driver cleared over pedestrian's death

By Adele Forrest | 04/02/2016 0 comments

Van driver cleared over pedestrian's death

A VAN driver accused of causing death by careless driving after his parked van rolled down a high street has been cleared by a jury.

Christopher White (39), of Fenn Road, Tankersley, had denied the offence after his work van crashed into Michael Mills (54) on Howard Street, Rotherham.

On the fourth day of his trial at Sheffield Crown Court today, Mr White was found not guilty.

The incident happened on August 21, 2014, at around 3.45pm and Mr Mills, who lived in Rotherham, was pronounced dead at the scene.

When the trial began on Monday, the jury at Sheffield Crown Court heard Mr White had parked his Volkswagen Transporter Van outside the Mace Shop to deliver soft drinks.

Mr Simon Waley, prosecuting, said the Highway Code gave advice, which was not mandatory, to drivers about parking on a hill and suggests leaving a vehicle in gear and turning the wheels to kerb.

Mr Waley told the jury that if Mr White had taken these steps the van would have not rolled downhill, which had a gradient of ten per cent.

He said the jury needed to consider if Mr White, by not taking these precautions, was a careless driver.

Mr White said he knew of the advice, but had not felt it was necessary on Howard Street.

Defending, Mr Ian Bridge, said in his summing up: “There’s not a day that goes by when he does not think about what happened that day and wishes more than anything he could turn the clock back.

“It was an absolutely hideous event, poor fellow walking down the pavement was hit by his vehicle.”

Mr Bridge said there was a “catastrophic brake failure”.

He said the jury had to be sure that the driving, which was parking in this case, fell below the standard expected of a competent and careful driver.
He added it was difficult to breach a rule that was advisory and perhaps it was the wrong word to call it a rule.

Mr Bridge added: “Did he do any differently than what an ordinary driver would have done?”

After retiring to consider its verdict on Wednesday afternoon, the jury returned a not guilty verdict this morning.

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