The trial of a man accused of killing a Belford father-of-three in a collision on the A1 through dangerous driving got under way yesterday afternoon.
Mathew Crook, of Albatross Way, Blyth, was charged after his Ford Transit van hit a Subaru car head-on. The car was being driven by Barry Carmon, who was 30 when he died.
On the night of April 8, 2017, the 26-year-old turned onto the northbound carriageway following a meal with his partner at The Cook and Barker Inn, Newton on the Moor, but headed in the wrong direction – southbound.
The collision happened less than a minute later and one of the witnesses, Ian Walters, said he called the police at 9.52pm immediately afterwards.
Mr Carmon, known as Baz, was pronounced dead at the scene. He was a car enthusiast and friends and family have held numerous tributes since his death.
Opening the case, prosecutor Sue Hirst stated that it was the defendant’s ‘catastrophic mistake’ which led to the collision as he turned right onto the northbound side of the dual carriageway and drove south instead of doing what he should have done – go into the central reservation and then turn right onto the southbound section of the A1.
She said: “Mr Carmon would have no expectation that any vehicle would be approaching him in the wrong direction.”
Referring to witness statements, she said that one of the witnesses tried to get him out of the car, but it was on fire and so the witness had to retire for his own safety given the heat coming from the vehicle.
She told the jury that whilst Crook had pleaded guilty to causing death by careless driving, it was the prosecution case that his actions amounted to dangerous driving. He pleaded not guilty to this charge.
She said there is clear signage when approaching the junction from the C106 – the road between the pub and the A1 – that a dual carriageway is ahead and he was on that dual carriageway before turning off for Newton on the Moor to go for the meal.
Referring to his police interview under caution in June 2017, when ‘he said he believed he was using a Sat Nav for the return journey’, she said he should not fully rely on a Sat Nav, but a test of this equipment was carried out after this date and it showed that a dual carriageway is ahead when approaching the junction.
When giving evidence, Mr Walters said he was driving on the left lane of the northbound carriageway and when he noticed that a vehicle was wanting to get onto the A1 from the Newton on the Moor junction, he moved to the outside (right) lane because he thought the vehicle also wanted to go northbound.
He then said: “This vehicle began to move and inexplicably headed south in the lane I was in, so I swerved back to the left lane before it reached me.
“It quickly passed me and I immediately called the police using my hands-free device.”
Mr Walters answered yes when defence barrister Christopher Knox asked him if he had no chance to give the driver of this vehicle a warning, such as flashing his lights, due to how quickly it had passed him.
The trial continues.