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HGV driver tells jurors he was paying attention before death crash

Mo Smith

A LORRY driver accused of causing a pensioner’s death by dangerous driving has refuted claims he was “distracted” moments before the fatal crash.

Jaroslaw Mieczan, 44, emotionally gave evidence in his defence on day two of his trial at Carlisle Crown Court. He denies a charge which arises out of a head-on crash on the A689 near Carlisle on the afternoon of November 16.

Experienced wagon driver Mieczan is said to have made a “conscious decision” to steer into the path of an oncoming Fiat Panda driven by 86-year-old Maureen Smith, who died at the scene.

Jurors heard the Polish resident’s westbound Mercedes was travelling at 54mph – above the 50mph HGV limit – immediately before the crash. It ploughed into the Panda having narrowly avoided colliding with a teenager’s westbound Ford Fiesta, which had slowed in front of him to turn off he A689.

Giving evidence today (WED), Mieczan – who had been wearing flip-flops while driving – claimed the Fiesta stopped “all of a sudden” without indicating or brake lights. “I tried to avoid the collision,” he told the jury. “I pay attention.”

Mieczan added: “I didn’t meant to hurt either the young guy or the lady. I didn’t care back then about myself in terms of whether I would be the one who would be dead or who only was injured or to become disabled. I did my best.”

In a statement to police after the crash, Mieczan insisted: “I was not driving dangerously.”

The trial continues.

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