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Driver denies he was racing before crash that killed colleague

By Sue Austin | Newtown | News | Published:

A company depot manager charged with causing the death of a colleague by dangerous driving has denied they were racing.

Rhys Davies, 28 and from Mid Wales, denies causing the death of Matthew Bennett by driving dangerously on the A470 at Caersws on October 8, 2016.

A jury at Mold Crown Court heard that both men finished their shifts at the Colomer Munmany Europe Ltd factory in Carno on and were making their way back home along the A470 in their cars.

Prosecutor Sion ap Mihangel said that Matthew Bennett overtook two cars in his Ford Fiesta and the driver of one of them said he thought both men’s cars were side by side at the point they vanished over a rise in the road.

A farmer, who was emerging from a field, saw the two cars driving past at speed and formed the view they were racing each other, said Mr ap Mihangel.

An oncoming van driver then saw Mr Bennett lose control of his car as he approached him on a bend, and said he was being closely followed by a second car, Davies’ VW Golf, and concluded the pair were racing.

Giving evidence, Davies, of Parc Hafod, Tregynon, near Newtown, said he had been driving for 11 years and had a clean licence.

That day, he left work in his silver VW Golf diesel and was driving through Carno when he saw Mr Bennett’s car in the Spar shop car park. He had not seen him leave the factory.

Davies said that as he drove along a straight piece of road Mr Bennett had overtaken him.

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He himself was driving at about 60mph and he said Mr Bennett went past him very quickly and completed his overtake before a brow in the road and pulled away from him.

His car went out of his sight for four or five seconds and Davies said that after he went over the brow he saw the other car lose control on a bend.

“As I negotiated the corner myself a van came travelling towards me on the verge. It looked as if it had taken evasive action,” he said.

Mr Bennett’s car hit a transporter, before colliding with a third vehicle.

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Mr Bennett’s car had gone through a hedge and Davies said he stopped and went to the field to check on him while his passenger dialled 999.

He was shocked and in disbelief at what had happened, he said.

He denied the prosecutor’s suggestions that he had seen the overtaking manoeuvre as a challenge and that they were side by side at the brow of the hill.

“I absolutely was not,” he said.

The trial before Judge Niclas Parry continues.

Sue Austin

By Sue Austin
Chief Reporter

Chief reporter of the Oswestry/Mid Wales office. Keen to hear your news.

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