Driver Leroy Hawthorne-Brown, 27, jailed for causing death of motorcyclist by careless driving
DRIVER Leroy Hawthorne-Brown has been jailed for nine months after being convicted of causing the death of a motorcyclist by careless driving.
Hawthorne-Brown, 27, of Victoria Avenue, Redfield, denied the charge, relating to an incident in November 2011.
Bristol Crown Court heard the Nissan Almera GTi driver was overtaking erratically before he briefly turned out in front of motorcyclist Marcus Wideson, who was heading the same way in the right-hand lane of southbound Falcondale Road.
The court was told 27-year-old Mr Wideson braked hard and was thrown from his 600cc Honda Hornet.
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Judge Michael Longman said Hawthorne-Brown's "short-lived" inattention on moving right preceded the tragic accident.
He said: "Mr Wideson was going too fast. I could not possibly conclude that, had he been driving more slowly, the tragic consequences could have been avoided."
Hawthorne-Brown was disqualified from driving for three years and ordered to take an extended driving test. He was told to pay a Government-levied victim surcharge.
The motorcycle was estimated to have been travelling at a minimum 40mph through the 30mph zone when it skidded on its locked rear wheel for some 14 metres before toppling over and travelling a further 27 metres on its side. The rider was thrown across the road and was struck by an oncoming Nissan Micra, suffering fatal multiple injuries.
Expert accident investigators called to give evidence by both the prosecution and defence agreed there was no evidence of contact between Hawthorne- Brown's car and the motorcycle.
Paul Riley, an expert called by the defence, said the Nissan Almera driver would have had a rear view of 110 metres and would have taken less than two seconds to manoeuvre right. Mr Riley said if the motorcycle was travelling at 40mph it would have taken 6.15 seconds to cover 110 metres. He said if it was travelling at 70mph it would have taken 3.5 seconds to cover that distance.
Hawthorne-Brown said he was with his grandmother, Beryl Brown, when they were returning from his daughter's first birthday party at Jump in Cribbs Causeway.
Hawthorne-Brown told the court that, on Falcondale Road, there was a slow driver in front and as there was nothing in the right-hand lane he decided to change lanes.
When he checked his wing mirror again, he said, he saw a light or lights coming behind him "pretty quick".
He told the jury: "I applied the brakes, cancelled the indicators and returned to my original position in my lane."
He said he heard no collision and he didn't see a motorbike pass by him on its side.
Mrs Brown, 74, told the jury the reason her grandson aborted the lane change was to avoid an oncoming car which was straying into their lane.
Judge Michael Longman also has found Hawthorne-Brown failed to stop after the accident and failed to report it, but conceded the driver could not have known the severity of the accident or its tragic consequences.