Van driver killed motorcyclist after driving through red light, trial hears

A driver hit and killed a motorcyclist after driving through a red light, a trial has heard.

Kurt Sammons, 54, was behind the wheel of his red Ford transit van when he collided with the Suzuki motorbike at a junction in Hazel Grove, Stockport, a jury has been told.

The rider got ‘trapped’ under the van as it continued on for four to eight metres after the crash, Minshull Street Crown Court heard.

Louis McGovern, 30, was left with ‘massive internal injuries’ and sadly died the next day, it was said.

Jurors heard Mr Sammons, from Cheadle Hulme, told attending officers: “I was just going to do a quote for a job, I didn’t see him.”

He gave a negative reading for drugs and alcohol, the court heard.

Minshull Street Crown Court
(Image: ABNM Photography)

The jury was told that during a police interview, he told officers he was travelling from Cheadle Hulme towards Poynton and the lights were on green, that he didn’t see the motorcycle until all of a sudden ‘the motorcyclist hit my van’.

Mr Sammons said that once he pulled over, he was told that the rider was ‘under the van’, the court heard.

Following Mr McGovern’s death, a second police interview took place in which Mr Sammons claimed the motorcyclist hit the van ‘at speed’, prosecutors said.

The jury heard the defendant ‘put the blame on Mr McGovern’.

Mr Sammons denies causing death by dangerous driving.

Jurors were told he has already pleaded guilty to the lesser offence of causing death by careless driving.

Prosecutor Rob Hall earlier told the court that on on January 15, 2019, at around 5.40pm Mr Sammons, then 52, was driving his Ford Transit van along the A555 Manchester Airport Relief Road.

On approach to the junction with the A523 Macclesfield Road, he was said to have been travelling at 24mph when the lights turned red, jurors heard.

“Mr Sammons received a 15 second call whilst driving – over the handsfree kit before the collision,” Mr Hall said.

“It’s agreed the junction was well illuminated and it’s agreed that there were no vehicles or environmental factors that would have obstructed Mr Sammons view of the eight traffic lights.”

The court was told there was ‘some complexity’ to the junction.

The traffic lights controlling the A555 Road turned to red while the van was travelling at 24mph and 66 metres from the stop line, the court heard.

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Three seconds later, the traffic lights controlling the A523 road turned from red to amber, it was said.

“A van travelling the average speed of 24mph could have been seen prior to stopping, even if activating emergency braking, there was enough time and distance for the van driven by Mr Sammons to have stopped prior to the stop line at the junction,” Mr Hall said.

“It’s agreed the motorbike crossed the line when the traffic light was on red and amber momentarily before turning green.

“The motorcycle had driven 34 metres from the stop line at the time of the collision.

“It is not suggested that the motorcycle was being ridden inappropriately for the road or the conditions.

“At the time of the collision, the traffic light controlling Mr Sammons was on red for 4.8 seconds.”

The court heard the front of the van hit the left side of the motorbike.

Mr Sammons did not show any evidence of emergency braking, jurors heard.

“Whilst the motorcycle deflected to the front, his body became trapped under the van as it continued on for four to eight metres after the collision,” Mr Hall said.

Mr McGovern was taken to Salford Royal Hospital where he was found to have traumatic brain injuries, a fractured vertebrae, a number of broken ribs and a collapsed lung, the court heard.

A toxicology report found that no alcohol or drugs were detected, jurors heard.

On January 16, Mr McGovern was pronounced dead despite the best efforts of medical staff. The the cause of death given was multiple injuries, the court heard.

Mr Sammons, of Willow Avenue, denies the offence of causing death by dangerous driving.

Proceeding.

MEN – Stockport