Runaway truck that killed four people was ‘an accident waiting to happen’, court hears
A runaway tipper truck which killed four people in a horror smash outside a school was “an accident waiting to happen”, a court heard today. Tragic Mitzi Steady, four, died instantly when the eight-wheeled HGV hit her as she crossed the road with her gran Margaret Rogers. Mrs.
Rogers and a second woman suffered life-changing injuries and three men in a nearby car were killed. Stephen Vaughan, 34, of Swansea and Philip Allen, 52 and Robert Parker, 59, both of Cwmbran, all died in the crash.
4-year-old Mitzi Steady died as she crossed the road with her gran (Photo: Avon and Somerset Police/PA)
Jurors at Bristol Crown court were told that despite having 710,000km on the clock, the 2004 Scania lorry was poorly maintained and its brakes tested only once a year. When they failed as it careered “out of control” through the village of Weston, near Bath, Somerset, and caused “absolute devastation”.
The killer lorry had “serious and long-standing defects” with its brakes, it was claimed in court.
Stephen Vaughan and two other men also died when their car was hit by the lorry (Photo: Avon and Somerset Police/PA)
Prosecuting, Adam Vaitilingam QC, said: “This was entirely predictable, the results of poor management and a disregard of the rules. “It was simply an accident waiting to happen.” Rookie driver Phillip Potter, 20, of Dauntsey, Wiltshire, denies causing death and serious injury by dangerous and careless driving.
His boss Matthew Gordon, 30, also of Dauntsey, whose Grittenham Haulage firm owned the vehicle, denies gross negligence manslaughter and death by dangerous driving.
Rookie driver Phil Potter denies causing death and serious injury by dangerous and careless driving (Photo: SWNS)Matthew Gordon, whose firm owned the lorry, denies gross negligence manslaughter and causing death by dangerous driving (Photo: SWNS)Mechanic Peter Wood denies gross negligence manslaughter (Photo: SWNS)
Mechanic Peter Wood, 55, of Brinkworth, Wilts, who checked the lorry over the month before the crash, denies gross negligence manslaughter. The court heard that on the day in question inexperienced driver Potter, who had recently joined the company, was being shown the ropes by his boss. Mr Vaitilingam said: “Gordon’s lorry was in front and leading the way but as they went down the hill, Potter’s brakes failed.”
Peter Wood, Phillip Potter and Matthew Gordon at Bristol Crown Court (Photo: Elizabeth Cook/PA)
He said while Gordon managed to pull over, his young employee tried to brake – but six of his eight brakes failed.
He said: “He couldn’t stop and so went to overtake him and his lorry continued to career down Lansdown Lane, out of control.
“It caused absolute devastation.”
The trial continues.