Cumbria Crack

HGV driver going “too fast” before fatal crash, jury hears

Mo Smith

[A] MOTORIST saw a wagon driver going “too fast” moments before a head-on crash which killed a pensioner, a jury has heard.

Jaroslaw Mieczan, 44, is on trial at Carlisle Crown Court. He denies causing the death of 86-year-old Maureen Smith by dangerous driving on the afternoon of November 16. It follows an incident on the A689 near Carlisle in which Mieczan’s westbound Mercedes and her oncoming white Fiat Panda were in collision.

Ford Fiesta driver Jason McAleese told jurors he turned left on to the A689, seeing nothing coming from his right. As he moved, he saw the roof of Mieczan’s lorry as it approached from behind.

Planning to then turn right off the A689 towards Irthington, the 19-year-old said he indicated to give the HGV driver reaction time, and slowed. Asked what he saw in his rear view mirror, he said: “The wagon coming towards me. I could tell it was going too fast to slow down at the time.” He grabbed the steering wheel, “tensed up” and “closed my eyes”. Asked by prosecutor Kim Whittlestone what he thought would happen, the teen replied: “I thought I was going to die. I looked to my right and saw the wagon collide with the car. I think it only just missed my vehicle.”

Mr McAleese called 999. Ms Smith died at the scene having sustained “multiple and catastrophic injuries”.

Mieczan, a Polish resident, is alleged to have “steered directly” into the pensioner’s path. He denies being “distracted” on the straight road, and claimed to police the teenager had “stopped suddenly”.

The trial continues.

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