England

Lorry driver acquitted of two crash deaths

The case against a lorry driver accused of causing two deaths by careless driving has been dismissed.

It came as evidence showed the other motorist was driving at 117mph while over the legal alcohol limit.

Jurors at Luton Crown Court were directed to acquit Daniel Rider, 26, from Burnham on Crouch, Essex.

Two witnesses and a police collision expert gave evidence before prosecutors said they would not resist a defence application to dismiss the case.

Prosecution and defence barristers told the court police had concerns about the case proceeding.

Judge Barbara Mensah said in her opinion she could see little likelihood that a jury would convict, but prosecution lawyers decided to continue with the case.

'Inherently weak' case

Mr Rider had denied two charges of causing death by careless driving.

The court was told Mr Rider was driving a DAF LGV and was pulling out on to the main road from Box End Road, Bromham, Bedfordshire, on 13 May 2009 when a silver BMW crashed into him.

The car was driven by former professional racing driver Joe Tandy, 26, from Pavenham, Bedfordshire. His passenger was Luke Temple, 22 from Olney, Buckinghamshire. Both men died.

Paramedic Kate Hood, who was in a car that was overtaken by the BMW just before the crash, told the court: "In my mind I thought he was going to cause an accident. I did not think he was driving safely."

Accident investigator Pc John Spears said calculations had put the speed of the BMW at between 115 and 117mph on the 60mph limit road.

He said the anti-locking braking system was not working and a blood sample taken from Mr Tandy gave a reading of 142 milligrammes of alcohol in the blood when the legal driving limit is 80.

The officer said the lorry driver would have had 3.3 seconds to see the car. His tachograph showed he had stopped at the junction before pulling out.

The judge later told the jury: "The case is inherently weak. You could not properly convict him on the evidence you have heard."

However, she said it had been right that the evidence was tested in court.

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