Truck in fatal crash ‘had significant blind spots’

Court House-general 3A cyclist killed by a left-turning truck was inside the driver’s “significant blind spots” said the Crown as the truckie’s trial began in the Christchurch District Court.

The police have charged the driver, 51-year-old David Peter Connell, with careless driving causing the death of Taiwanese cycle tourist Ming-Chih Hsieh in the September 29, 2014, crash in Hornby. He denies the charge.

Witnesses told of Connell driving the big articulated truck very slowly as he moved off from the lights in Carmen Road as it swung left into Waterloo Road, about 12.30pm.

The cyclist was riding straight ahead in a cycle lane, after coming up beside the stopped truck which was indicating a left hand turn, the judge-alone trial before Judge Gary MacAskill was told.

Crown prosecutor Claire Boshier said the truck and cycle moved forward simultaneously when the lights turned green.

“As he (Connell) turned left he drove over the cyclist who received immediate fatal injuries,” she said.

The driver said he did not see the cyclist. “A later examination showed significant blind spots for the driver of the vehicle.”

Miss Boshier said: “The allegation in this case is carelessness. The defendant was driving an extremely large vehicle which he knew had significant blind spots. He, as the turning vehicle, had to give way to any cyclist proceeding straight through the intersection on his left.”

Even with his mirrors, the driver had a limited view of the left-hand side of the road, and this was insufficient to see the cyclist.

Civilian witnesses who saw the crash, crash investigators, and police will give evidence during the trial which is expected to continue on Wednesday.

Witnesses told of seeing the truck turn and the cyclist being hit by left-front wheel and going underneath most of the truck’s left wheels. A passenger in a car told of seeing that the truck was going to hit the cyclist and trying to yell a warning, but it was too late, he said.

Another witness told the truck driver at the crash scene repeatedly saying, “I didn’t see him.”

Update: A vehicle inspector who examined the truck and trailer after the crash, Paul Keating, said he believed that poor visibility through the left hand side window because of dirt and grime, and the fact that the indicator lights on both trailer units were not working “may have been contributing factors to the crash”.

Serious crash unit investigator Senior Constable John Isitt said a loose wire between the tractor unit and the first trailer was causing the indicators on the trailers not to work sometimes. The cyclist’s decision to ride up beside the truck and trailer stopped at the lights indicated that he had not seen the indicator lights, and he remained in the blind zone around the tractor unit.

The trial is continuing.

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