Firefighter denies dangerous driving in fatal engine crash

Published
image copyrightSouth Beds News Agency
image captionFirefighter David Williams was behind the wheel of an emergency vehicle when it toppled over on a roundabout, killing a pedestrian

A firefighter who was driving a fire engine when it toppled over and killed a pedestrian said his speed had been "appropriate" for the conditions.

David Williams, 48, told St Albans Crown Court he would still approach the roundabout, in Royston, Hertfordshire, in exactly the same way.

Father-of-three Mitchell Bailey was crushed to death by the vehicle as it responded to an emergency in 2017.

Mr Williams denies causing death by dangerous or careless driving.

Prosecutor Peter Shaw told how a police investigation found Mr Williams, of Baldock Street, Royston, had been travelling at speeds between 37.5mph and 39mph moments before the accident on 18 January last year.

"This is compared to a maximum speed of 21.6mph for the vehicle to safely negotiate the roundabout," he said.

image copyrightCarol Bailey
image captionFather-of-three Mitchell Bailey was crushed to death by a fire engine

When Mr Shaw asked if the speed of the Hertfordshire Fire and Rescue Service vehicle surprised him, Mr Williams - who has been a firefighter for 25 years and never had an accident - said: "Not necessarily, no. You would tailor your speed to the conditions at the time."

The jury has been told that when Mr Williams was interviewed by police in 2017, he said he would still approach the roundabout in the same way as he had on 18 January 2017.

Mr Shaw asked him: "Do you maintain that now?" He replied: "Yes."

The prosecutor said the death of 58-year-old Mr Bailey - who was just 250ft (75m) from his home when the fire engine fell on him at about 20:40 GMT - had been "totally avoidable".

In November 2012, a fire service instructor had assessed Mr Williams' driving and advised him to reduce his speed prior to bends in the roads and roundabouts, the court was told.

Earlier, the jury heard that surface gravel at the junction of Old North Road and Burns Road may have played a part in the accident.

The trial continues.

image copyrightUKNIP
image captionEmergency services were called to the roundabout at the junction of York Way and Old North Road in Royston