A lorry driver who killed a motorcyclist moments after making an illegal overtake of a cyclist has been convicted of causing death by dangerous driving.
Winchester Crown Court heard that Lucian-Sorin Todor, aged 52 and from Waterlooville, drove away from the scene of the crash on the A32 at Warnford on 19 June 2019, reports the Hampshire Chronicle.
The drivers of two oncoming cars were forced to swerve onto grass verge as Todor overtook the cyclist despite the road being marked with double white lines.
Motorcyclist Jack Burgess, 22, fell from his motorbike and sustained fatal injuries when he was struck by the wheels of Todor’s lorry, passing away in hospital the following day.
The driver was using a mobile phone with a Bluetooth earpiece at the time of the crash, and continued his conversation for two minutes afterwards before departing the scene, carrying on the call for a further half hour.
Giving evidence at the trial Liam Creighton, who witnessed the crash, told the court: “I said to him ‘you’ve had an accident, you’ve got to pull over’.
“The bloke just walked up the side of the lorry, didn’t go no more than halfway up the trailer and just said ‘no, no’.”
In a statement made to police after his arrest, Todor insisted he was not to blame for the crash.
“I do not believe I caused the accident,” he said. “I am extremely sorry that someone has died but I do not believe it was caused by me. If I thought I was involved in an accident I would not have left.”
He also claimed that he had not seen the cyclist until the last moment, although a police collision investigator said that the rider would have been visible for nine seconds.
Dashcam footage also revealed that earlier that day Todor had made a similar illegal overtake on a cyclist at the same location, which is close to the depot of the company where he worked as an agency driver.
Todor had pleaded guilty earlier this month to causing death by careless driving, but denied the more serious charge of causing death by dangerous driving. The jury at his trial last week convicted him by a 10-2 majority.
Todor will be sentenced at a date yet to be set once pre-sentencing reports have been compiled, with Recorder Angela Morris telling him: “This is a very serious matter and there is only one inevitable sentence at the end of this.
“You must understand, Mr Todor, that there is only one sentence here, it is likely to be a substantial sentence,” she said.
“I have not made up my mind up as to the extent of that at this stage, that is for another day after these reports are prepared.
“As part of that it is obviously important that you provide to your legal team any information that you wish me to consider on your behalf when I consider the issue of sentence.”
Simon joined road.cc as news editor in 2009 and is now the site’s community editor, acting as a link between the team producing the content and our readers. A law and languages graduate, published translator and former retail analyst, he has reported on issues as diverse as cycling-related court cases, anti-doping investigations, the latest developments in the bike industry and the sport’s biggest races. Now back in London full-time after 15 years living in Oxford and Cambridge, he loves cycling along the Thames but misses having his former riding buddy, Elodie the miniature schnauzer, in the basket in front of him.