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Lorry driver killed motorbike rider moments after making illegal overtake of cyclist

Drivers were forced to swerve after Lucian-Sorin Todor crossed white lines before fatally injuring motorcyclist

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.

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51 comments

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grOg | 2 years ago
0 likes

It's clear the truck driver made an unsafe overtake when passing the cyclist, with the driver giving evidence he only saw the cyclist at the last moment and swerving across the double lines to miss the cyclist, causing oncoming drivers to take evading action; the motorcyclist collided with one of those vehicles and fell into the path of the truck. The cyclist was lucky that the truck driver, possibly distracted with his phone conversation, didn't hit the cyclist.

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Grumpy17 | 2 years ago
2 likes
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iandusud | 2 years ago
15 likes

A particularly tragic aspect of this case is that is would appear that the driver in question was a serial dangerous driver and was yet still able to drive a lorry day in day out. This was avoidable but sadly dangerous driving is generally not dealt with until someone is seriously injured or killed, as in this case, and then when it is dealt with it is often no more than a slap on the wrist. My deepest sympathy goes out to Jack Burgess' family.

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Captain Badger replied to iandusud | 2 years ago
8 likes
iandusud wrote:

A particularly tragic aspect of this case is that is would appear that the driver in question was a serial dangerous driver and was yet still able to drive a lorry day in day out. This was avoidable but sadly dangerous driving is generally not dealt with until someone is seriously injured or killed, as in this case, and then when it is dealt with it is often no more than a slap on the wrist. My deepest sympathy goes out to Jack Burgess' family.

Quite. this was utterly foreseeable, and avoidable. It's high time that the rozzers started to send out FPN and points as a matter of course for driving infractions. 

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ReCycling Dave replied to Captain Badger | 2 years ago
6 likes

I reported a HGV a week ago for a close pass on me while I was on a single lane with solid double centre line

Police emailed me to say they'd reviewed the footage and were passing it to the company as the employer has more authority than they do to take action

If the driver continues in the way they were driving a collision is inevitable IMO and it would have been preventable had the police acted and not abdicated all responsibility

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Captain Badger replied to ReCycling Dave | 2 years ago
9 likes
ReCycling Dave wrote:

I reported a HGV a week ago for a close pass on me while I was on a single lane with solid double centre line

Police emailed me to say they'd reviewed the footage and were passing it to the company as the employer has more authority than they do to take action

If the driver continues in the way they were driving a collision is inevitable IMO and it would have been preventable had the police acted and not abdicated all responsibility

A private company has more authority than the Police... FFS

Out of interest did you reply to them with your last paragraph? I'm interested to know what their response to that might have been.

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ReCycling Dave replied to Captain Badger | 2 years ago
3 likes
Captain Badger wrote:
ReCycling Dave wrote:

I reported a HGV a week ago for a close pass on me while I was on a single lane with solid double centre line

Police emailed me to say they'd reviewed the footage and were passing it to the company as the employer has more authority than they do to take action

If the driver continues in the way they were driving a collision is inevitable IMO and it would have been preventable had the police acted and not abdicated all responsibility

A private company has more authority than the Police... FFS

Out of interest did you reply to them with your last paragraph? I'm interested to know what their response to that might have been.

 

My only response was "Dissapointed you're not taking it seriousley"

to which they said "you're entitled to your opinion"

My last words "It's not just my opinion it's the Highway Code"

See what you think of the incident

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XpxksXOIWus

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ktache replied to ReCycling Dave | 2 years ago
8 likes

Wow, highly trained professional driver.

I hadn't realised that haulage firms could arrest persons and deprive them of their liberty, let alone the passing on of evidence to the Crown Prosecution Service.

Or perform not in any way institutional racist stop and searches...

 

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Captain Badger replied to ReCycling Dave | 2 years ago
3 likes
ReCycling Dave wrote:

.....

My only response was "Dissapointed you're not taking it seriousley"

to which they said "you're entitled to your opinion"

My last words "It's not just my opinion it's the Highway Code"

See what you think of the incident

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XpxksXOIWus

That's pretty nasty. Workshy facking bastards

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IanMK replied to ReCycling Dave | 2 years ago
1 like

This might work if they passed the footage on and copied in the HSE at the same time. 

I'm not sure who's responsible for checking wheher a drivers CPC is up to date but you'd think somebody would check in this instance.

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ReCycling Dave replied to IanMK | 2 years ago
1 like
IanMK wrote:

This might work if they passed the footage on and copied in the HSE at the same time. 

I'm not sure who's responsible for checking wheher a drivers CPC is up to date but you'd think somebody would check in this instance.

Indeed, what concerns me with this is the police haven't even ascertained who the driver is let alone looked into any previous problems

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IanMK | 2 years ago
8 likes

I would think that there must have been previous indicators to the danger that this driver posed to other road users - points already on his license, footage submitted by road users etc. Any risk assesment must be to remove those that represent the greatest danger. This crash may be 1 in a 10,000 but if you remove the 10,000 drivers most likely to cause death by dangerous driving then you will probably save a life. The trouble is that there has to be a political will, even if we know that a small percentage of drivers present the most danger to life then you might easily be talking about banning 1 million drivers. However, the quality of life for all of the other road users would be vastly improved. 

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HoarseMann replied to IanMK | 2 years ago
8 likes
IanMK wrote:

I would think that there must have been previous indicators to the danger that this driver posed to other road users - points already on his license, footage submitted by road users etc. 

It appears that he habitually overtook on double white lines. If the police dealt robustly with dashcam footage of these sort of infractions, then perhaps his risk-taking behaviour could have been curtailed before the worst happened.

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Hirsute replied to HoarseMann | 2 years ago
4 likes

Just looked at that to find

https://www.hampshirechronicle.co.uk/news/19531054.tribute-paid-barton-s...

A 21-year-old Hampshire woman was arrested on suspicion of death by careless driving and causing death by driving a vehicle while unlicensed or uninsured.

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HoarseMann replied to Hirsute | 2 years ago
2 likes

Yes, I saw that too - another example of a killer driver who should not have been behind the wheel.

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ktache replied to Hirsute | 2 years ago
1 like

My deepest sympathies to the family and friends of Oliver Gadney.

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bobbypuk | 2 years ago
5 likes

I've had TVP reviewing submitted cam footage and tell me that cars crossing solid white lines is fine to get past a cyclist because there was nothing coming in the other direction...

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Hirsute replied to bobbypuk | 2 years ago
1 like

Which they only knew as the coverage eventually showed that !

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IanMK replied to bobbypuk | 2 years ago
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Which makes you wonder why they wouldn't make representation have the Law / Highway Code updated? It should not be the job of the police to decide which laws to enforce.

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wycombewheeler replied to IanMK | 2 years ago
10 likes

Probably comes down to the ok to pass stationary vehicles or horses and cyclists doing less than 10mph.

Cyclists are always doing less than 10mph in the minds of others, until they are on shared use paths when they suddenly start doing 30mph.

But lack of enforcement on these driving offences when reported as a direct contributor to these sorts of incidents. Clearly passing cyclists over the double lines was routine for this driver, unless once police start taking action on all breaches we will see the casualties start falling. It is no good throwing the book at those that have a collision while saying 'nothing to see here' when drivers get away with the same action.

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HoarseMann replied to IanMK | 2 years ago
2 likes
IanMK wrote:

It should not be the job of the police to decide which laws to enforce.

I'd agree with you there, but unfortunately it is their job to decide which laws to enforce - with the caveat that it must be reasonable and proportionate. Given what some courts would pass off as reasonable driving behaviour - they've almost got carte blanche to not enforce whatever they like!

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IanMK replied to HoarseMann | 2 years ago
4 likes
HoarseMann wrote:
IanMK wrote:

It should not be the job of the police to decide which laws to enforce.

I'd agree with you there, but unfortunately it is their job to decide which laws to enforce - with the caveat that it must be reasonable and proportionate. Given what some courts would pass off as reasonable driving behaviour - they've almost got carte blanche to not enforce whatever they like!

Wow! I would not have guessed that. It also establishes why they are not interested in contributing to changing the laws that don't work well (or even making roads safer). They can just ignore them. Plenty of other examples like privately owned electric scooters.

There are some really long drags of double white lines near me. It's obvious that they haven't been thought about in terms of cyclists and potential speed differentials, as there are some sections where drivers can overtake safely. I'd rather they overtake, if they can, as you can end up with a long tailback and then when the damn bursts you get them all piling through, MGIF style nose to bumper.

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hawkinspeter replied to bobbypuk | 2 years ago
1 like
bobbypuk wrote:

I've had TVP reviewing submitted cam footage and tell me that cars crossing solid white lines is fine to get past a cyclist because there was nothing coming in the other direction...

I'd agree with that. I'd much rather that motorists give cyclists enough space when overtaking rather than attempting to overtake and not cross solid white lines.

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Awavey replied to hawkinspeter | 2 years ago
1 like

But the reason solid lines are normally there are because it is unsafe to overtake as the driver cant see far enough ahead to be sure there is nothing coming, as it's a bit of road in a sequence of bends,hidden dips. It's not like a deliberate slow zone, yes I want people to feel they can give as much room when they overtake but Ill often wince & close my eyes (metaphorically speaking not literally obviously) if they do it on a solid line bit of road.

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hawkinspeter replied to Awavey | 2 years ago
1 like
Awavey wrote:

But the reason solid lines are normally there are because it is unsafe to overtake as the driver cant see far enough ahead to be sure there is nothing coming, as it's a bit of road in a sequence of bends,hidden dips. It's not like a deliberate slow zone, yes I want people to feel they can give as much room when they overtake but Ill often wince & close my eyes (metaphorically speaking not literally obviously) if they do it on a solid line bit of road.

I think it depends on the situation. Often there's sufficient visibility to allow a safe overtake whilst crossing double solid white lines, but that comes with the caveat that the driver has to take particular care. I don't think it's really a high priority with police though as incidents like this one are rare.

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bobbypuk replied to hawkinspeter | 2 years ago
2 likes

No, there is no caveat. "You MUST not cross sold white lines unless it is more convenient to you to do so" is not from the highway code.

99.9% of the time these small infractions are unnoticed, ignored and harmless. That remaining bit is people being killed. 

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hawkinspeter replied to bobbypuk | 2 years ago
1 like
bobbypuk wrote:

No, there is no caveat. "You MUST not cross sold white lines unless it is more convenient to you to do so" is not from the highway code.

99.9% of the time these small infractions are unnoticed, ignored and harmless. That remaining bit is people being killed. 

In my defence, I'm not a driver and so have little reason to cross those lines. (Disclaimer: I've probably crossed over them when crossing the road)

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vthejk replied to hawkinspeter | 2 years ago
1 like
hawkinspeter wrote:

I think it depends on the situation. Often there's sufficient visibility to allow a safe overtake whilst crossing double solid white lines, but that comes with the caveat that the driver has to take particular care. 

I think the fuzziness surrounding this is the real issue. I've come to expect overtakes from drivers on stretches of double white line when the road ahead may seem clear, but often it's only 200-300m preceding a blind area, almost always causes a loud burst of throttle and the overtake is only ever complete at the apex of the turn, dip or blind bend. I don't think the double white lines would exist if the highways authority thought the road was safe for an overtake, do you? It should be clearer; double white lines are absolutely not safe to overtake REGARDLESS of the perceived danger. 

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PRSboy replied to hawkinspeter | 2 years ago
2 likes
hawkinspeter wrote:
bobbypuk wrote:

I've had TVP reviewing submitted cam footage and tell me that cars crossing solid white lines is fine to get past a cyclist because there was nothing coming in the other direction...

I'd agree with that. I'd much rather that motorists give cyclists enough space when overtaking rather than attempting to overtake and not cross solid white lines.

There is a three lane section I regularly ride down at 30-40mph, with a centre overtaking lane only for the use of uphill traffic.  Despite double white lines for the downhill traffic, there is no issue at all with a safe view and I'd far rather people overtook me by crossing the white line rather than waiting until further along the road where it is legal, but actually with a less safe view.

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bobbypuk replied to PRSboy | 2 years ago
0 likes

If people are overtaking you when you're doing 40mph then its a 60mph road. So you potentially have 2 vehicles driving at each other with a 120mph closing speed, a slow moving HGV and a cyclist in the mix. I can't see how anything could go wrong.

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