Blackwood death crash driver had been taking photographs at wheel, court hears

ACCUSED: Andrzej Wojcicki

DIED: Owain Richard James

First published in News
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A BLACKWOOD man accused of causing the death of a cyclist by dangerous driving had been taking photographs of "interesting cars" on his mobile phone just before the collision, a court heard.

Andrzej Wojcicki, 44, of Conway Court, denies causing the death of cyclist Owain Richard James, of Oakdale, while driving a white minibus on the A472 at Newbridge on Sunday, July 21 last year at about 8pm.

MrJames, aged 30, suffered severe injuries in the crash and later died in hospital.

Prosecutor Nicholas Gareth Jones told the jury at Cardiff Crown Court today how Wojcicki failed to stop for a "considerable distance" and "behaved strangely" by taking photographs of the scene of the crash immediately after the collision.

Wojcicki, originally from Poland, was driving a left-hand drive minibus with his wife as a front seat passenger along the dual carriageway with Mr James cycling ahead of him.

Mr Jones told the jury: "The defendant was in the near side lane of the dual carriageway. The cyclist was riding inside a white rumble strip on the left hand side of the road.

"The prosecution believe the driver never saw the cyclist at all because he was distracted until after he collided with him.

"He may not have even realised he had collided with the cyclist immediately because he didn't stop for some considerable distance after the collision.

"The left side of the minibus hit the cyclist from behind. He suffered very severe injuries and he never regained conciousness."

Following the collision, Mr Jones said the "defendant behaved very strangely and started taking photographs of the scene."

He added that Wojcicki told witnesses at the scene that he had not seen the cyclist but later told police that the cyclist had swerved into his path.

Mr Jones added that police found photographs on Wojcicki's phone of vintage sports cars, some of which had only been taken half a mile away from the scene of the collision.

He added: "He was looking at photographs he'd just taken rather than concentrating on his driving.

"To drive in that way, not see a cyclist that was visible for a long distance ahead of the vehicle, is clearly dangerous."

Witness Matthew Smallman of Abersychan, who was driving behind the minibus, said: "As we were progressing near to the cyclist, I left enough room, I was waiting for the white minibus to indicate right and go from the slow lane to the fast lane and give the cyclist the room that was required.

"The minibus was getting closer and closer to the cyclist was coming up to 15 to 20 yards. I thought then the minibus was just going to swerve out.

"The minibus didn't alter his course whatsoever, no break lights. The minibus ploughed into the cyclist."

Mr Smallman said he followed the minibus until it stopped to get the registration as he knew aid was on the way for Mr James as he saw cars coming up behind him.

The jury went to view the scene of the crash this afternoon.

Proceeding.

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