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Car hit Shropshire good Samaritan as cyclist lay dying, court told

South Shropshire | News | Published:

The trial of two motorists accused of causing the death of a Shropshire cyclist by careless driving has heard from a Good Samaritan who suffered a broken leg as he called for help.

Gary Pitkin was on the school run when he saw injured cyclist John Edmund Searle lying on the B4368 Corvedale Road near Craven Arms in October 2012.

Mr Searle, 59, had been clipped by one car and then run over by a van. He died at the scene.

Mr Pitkin told Shrewsbury Crown Court yesterday he pulled over and ran to Mr Searle's aid.

The court heard that while on the phone to the emergency services, a blue car hit Mr Pitkin and he fell and broke his left leg.

Pamela Willocks and Russel Davies deny causing the death of teaching assistant Mr Searle by careless driving

Mr Pitkin described the moment he was struck, breaking his leg, as feeling like a "rugby tackle".

The court was told yesterday that Willocks, 50, of Watling Street South, Church Stretton, had clipped Mr Searle with her wing mirror, and then Davies, 54, of Burway Road, Church Stretton, had run over him.

Mr Searle died at the scene despite efforts by the paramedics to resuscitate him.

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Yesterday the court heard evidence from Mr Pitkin, a dentist, who was on the daily school run on the morning of October 17. He said he was driving towards Craven Arms, in a dark blue Mercedes, to meet the school bus.

He said it was a bright sunny day and he was driving away from the sun.

Mr Pitkin said: "I thought I saw some rubbish and a bright yellow thing I thought was a sack or bag. I slowed down and as we passed I saw a chap in the road near his bike."

Mr Pitkin said he pulled up and ran to the aid of the cyclist. He said: "I put my right hand on the cyclist's shoulder and said 'I can see you have been hurt, I am going to phone for an ambulance'. The cyclist made a groaning noise.

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"I straight away got on the phone and had an infuriating call with the emergency services who did not know what road I was referring to."

The court heard that whilst he was on the phone, a blue car hit Mr Pitkin and he fell and broke his left leg.

He said: "I am prone to pacing while on the phone so was walking backwards and forwards trying to explain where I was. While I was facing Craven Arms I got hit by a car that came through, it spun me round and I landed on my backside with my feet slightly over Mr Searle. It felt like a hard rugby tackle and I don't think I left the ground. Mr Searle did not move from when we passed him in the car to when I was hit."

Mr Pitkin was taken by air ambulance to the Queen Elizabeth Hospital in Birmingham.

The jury also heard evidence from Christopher Smith, a passenger in Davies' van on October 17 on their way to an electrical contract.

He told the jury the weather conditions made it difficult for driving as the sun was shining strongly and they were driving towards the sun. Prosecutor Simon Davis asked Mr Smith what happened while they were driving along the B4368.

Mr Smith answered: "The van was going about 40 to 50 mph. We went over something in the road, about a mile and a half from Craven Arms. It felt like going over a log or something. Russel said to me 'What was that?' and I replied, 'I don't know'."

The court heard Davies and turned around at the next available place as they wanted to go back and warn people and find out what the bump was.

Kim Halsall, mitigating for Davies, asked: "Were you comfortable with the way Mr Davies was driving that day?" Mr Smith said: "Yes."

The trial continues.

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