[A] MERCEDES involved in a fatal M6 crash was travelling at “silly speed” moments beforehand, a jury has heard.
Peter Morrison, 37, is on trial at Carlisle Crown Court. He denies causing the death of traffic officer Adam Gibb – and seriously injuring Mr Gibb’s colleague, Paul Holroyd – by dangerous driving.
Both allegations arise out of an incident last February, when two highways employees were struck by Morrison’s black Mercedes ML 4×4 as they stood on the hard shoulder supervising the recovery of two previously crashed vehicles just south of junction 38 at Tebay.
Mr Gibb, 51 and from Penrith, was killed and Mr Holroyd, also then aged 51, of Kirkby Stephen, was left permanently paralysed from the chest down.
WIt is alleged Morrison had been speeding prior to the collision, and was “distracted” by a text conversation he had been having with a number of people.
Motorists reported “quite atrocious” and “terrible” weather conditions that day – driving rain, strong cross-winds and standing water.
One, Edward Lillie, told jurors today (TUES): “The conditions were really so bad it was difficult to imagine anything worse.”
Another, Ian Shaw, was driving a BMW in lane two at a cruise control speed of 70mph. As matrix signs advised a 50mph limit following the earlier crash, Mr Shaw saw an approaching black Mercedes in his rear view mirror.
“This car was travelling (in lane three) at silly speed coming by,” said Mr Shaw. “He was going a lot faster than I was going.”
He told jurors: “All of a sudden I saw a car in front of me brake, and then obviously the Mercedes was smashed up in the middle of the road in front of me. I had to slam the brakes on.”
Prosecutor Arthur Gibson asked: “Is that the same Mercedes that had passed you?”
“Yes,” Mr Shaw replied.
Morrison, of The Warke, Worsley, Manchester, admits causing Mr Gibb’s death – and being responsible for Mr Holroyd’s injuries – by careless driving but denies doing so dangerously.
He denies travelling at an excessive speed, and refutes the allegation that he was “distracted” at the time of impact.
The trial continues.