08:22AM, Thursday 25 January 2018
A van driver accused of causing death by careless driving described his ‘terror’ as he realised he wouldn’t be able to brake in time before colliding with a cyclist, a court heard.
Jeremiah O’Shea, 54, of Forest Road, Ascot, is accused of causing death by careless driving after his silver Volkswagon van collided with a cyclist on Thursday, January 5 2017.
Fred Dowling, 52, from Wokingham, was cycling along Winkfield Road, Windsor, when he was struck.
Yesterday at Reading Crown Court, O’Shea’s defence QC Alice Jarrett questioned him on what the driving conditions were like on that fateful morning
O’Shea replied that it was still ‘very dark’ but he was aware of the speed limit and there were no vehicles in front or behind.
He described how he kept his reading glasses on a shelf near the speedometer of his vehicle and glanced down to check they were there.
“I glanced to where my speedometer is.
“After I looked back up, maybe a second, I saw my headight beam pick up a dark shape which was Mr Dowling.
“To my horror and terror I couldn’t do anything but hit my brakes.”
O’Shea described letting out an involuntarily scream but said he had both hands on the steering wheel as he braked firmly.
He described hitting the bike before getting out and calling an ambulance.
He then checked Mr Dowling for a pulse but couldn’t find one.
Ms Jarrett said: “How did you feel at that time?”
“Sick,” replied O’Shea.
Under cross examination prosecutor Rossano Scamardella questioned why O’Shea failed to see the cyclist after several motorists who had previously given evidence overtook Mr Dowling safely without incident.
The court heard Mr Dowling was wearing a fluorescent yellow jacket and helmet, and his bike had multiple front and rear lights.
The prosecutor questioned whether O’Shea was distracted by music, or by something on the windscreen or whether it was just a lapse in concentration.
O’Shea replied: “No, the was fact he was not very well lit up on a very dark road and wasn’t there to be seen,”
On Tuesday (Jan 23) the court heard how O’Shea was found by police staring at Mr Dowling’s body as he received treatment from paramedics.
Ambulances attended the scene and performed CPR on him, but he was later pronounced dead at Frimley Park Hospital.
The court heard that when approached by police at the scene, O’Shea said: “I’ve killed him, haven’t I?”
The trial continues.
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