A BLACKWOOD driver accused of causing death by dangerous driving told a jury the cyclist his minibus collided with was responsible for the crash.
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.
Giving evidence, Wojcicki told the jury at Cardiff Crown Court: “It was an accident. I haven’t had a single day where I have not been thinking about this accident in the last year.”
Wojcicki, who claims the cyclist swerved into the path of his minibus, told the court yesterday that he was “ashamed” of taking photographs of vintage sports cars while driving before the collision took place.
He admitted that one of the photographs was taken while his vehicle was moving but told the court: “It didn’t impact my driving. I could still have my vision ahead.”
When asked by prosecutor Nicholas Gareth Jones if he was looking at the photographs he had just taken when he collided with Mr James, Wojcicki said: “There was no way to check images, it’s a bend”.
He added: “It’s a very demanding section of the road to go over the incline and over the curve.”
Wojcicki said he did not mention the photographs he had taken on his mobile phone during an interview the day after the collision as the police had confiscated it and he believed they would have seen them.
Defending, Lord Harley, asked: “Who was responsible for this crash?” to which Wojcicki replied: “The cyclist”.
Wojcicki, who was visibly upset, added: “I’m very sorry for what has happened but I do not feel responsible.”
Speaking about his minibus being left hand drive, Wojcicki told the court that drivers had a “tendency to keep it more to the right.”
He said that drivers with left hand drive vehicles constantly adjust their position in the road, which could explain why eye witnesses believed he was drifting.
When asked about the collision itself, Wojcicki said: “It was very shocking, a very traumatic experience.
“I just saw the cyclist approach me, swerving into my lane.
“There was no time for me to react.
“I lost the vision of the road ahead because there was a horrible noise and then the cyclist was no longer on the screen [windscreen] and I could see the road ahead of me.”
Wojcicki, who had his wife and two young daughters in the minibus with him at the time, was asked why he had taken so long to stop.
He said: “All I did in the moment of impact, I grabbed hold of the steering wheel as you would do when you’re stressed.
“I didn’t apply my brakes. I was just regaining my senses.”
Wojcicki’s wife, Dorota Wojcicki, told the court she did not see her husband taking photographs at the wheel in the lead up to the collision.
She added that she also did not see the cyclist in the road as she was reading a book while her husband was driving.