Cumbria Crack
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Death crash investigator tells jury HGV driver’s reverse park “unsafe”

Nigel Stevens outside Carlisle Crown Court.
Nigel Stevens outside Carlisle Crown Court.

[A] POLICE crash investigator has concluded an HGV driver’s attempted reverse-park manoeuvre moments before a fatal collision was unsafe.

Nigel James Stevens, 55, is on trial at Carlisle Crown Court. Stevens admits causing van driver David Mitchell’s death by careless driving, but denies a more serious charge which alleges dangerous driving.

These charges arise out of an incident in darkness on the B5305 road, near Wigton, on November 6, 2015.

Jurors have heard Stevens was trying to reverse his potato-laden trailer from the well-used road into a farm entrance near his Greenrigg Cottages home.

David Mitchell
David Mitchell

But while his trailer was positioned “across both carriageways” it was struck by Mr Mitchell’s van. The 53-year-old, of Waverton, suffered fatal head injuries.

Today (TUES) experienced collision investigator PC Richard Wiejak told the court he carried out post-crash tests and a reconstruction of the fatal smash.

These concluded that the trailer’s clear visibility as an obstruction “wouldn’t have been enough” for Mr Mitchell to stop in time.

Asked by prosecutor Jacob Dyer whether the reversing manoeuvre was a safe one to be carried out in the dark, PC Wiejak replied: “In my opinion, no.”

The trial continues.

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