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Death crash pensioner given a suspended sentence
8:20am Wednesday 4th December 2013 in News
A REDDITCH motorcyclist was killed and another suffered horrific injuries when a pensioner made a right turn in front of them, giving them no chance to avoid a collision.
A judge heard that Land Rover driver David Brown had not seen the two machines before making his manoeuvre, even though they had been in view for several seconds.
Brown, aged 76, of Gorsey Lane, Wythall, pleaded guilty at Warwick Crown Court to causing the death of Rafal Lorenz , 32,by careless driving.
He was sentenced to six months in prison suspended for 12 months, banned from driving for two years, ordered to take an extended test if he ever wants his licence back, and ordered to pay £400 costs.
Prosecutor Iain Willis said the charge follows a crash at the junction of the A4189 Redditch to Henley-in-Arden Road and Ullenhall Road on September 1 last year.
Brown, returning from Stratford with his wife in his Land Rover Freelander, made a right turn into Ullenhall Road.
Travelling in the opposite direction from their homes in Redditch to a barbeque in Coventry at 4.30pm were experienced motorcyclists Mr Lorenz, his brother Kamil, and their friend Krzysztof Berk.
The three, who had their headlights on, were riding perfectly properly at or near the 50mph speed limit according to witnesses.
Kamil, who was in front, overtook another vehicle, but then slowed down when the others did not catch him up.
And when the vehicle he had overtaken passed him and he could still not see them, he turned round and came upon the devastating scene at the junction where his brother and his friend were lying severely injured.
Christopher Mathias, who was behind Brown, said Brown had been doing no more than 40mph and had slowed down and was correctly positioned to make the right turn.
He said he saw the two bikes less than 100 metres away and realised Brown would have to stop to let them pass before making the right turn but he did not.
Neither motorcyclist stood a chance of avoiding the collision, and Rafal’s Suzuki hit the front of the Land Rover and burst into flames as he was thrown over the bonnet.
Mr Berk, who was behind him, tried to swerve to his right, but hit the rear section of the Land Rover and was also thrown into the road.
Both men were rushed to hospital where Rafal Lorenz, of Oakenshaw Road, died from his injuries, including a fractured spine.
Mr Berk also suffered a fractured spine, a ruptured spleen and had the majority of his ribs broken.
Judge Richard Griffith-Jones commented: “He didn’t see them; he would never have risked their lives if he had.”
Mr Willis, who pointed out that Brown has surrendered his licence and has not driven since the incident, said: “This is a complete tragedy for those on both sides.”
Sarah Allen, for Brown, who says he will not drive again, said: “All he can do is to extend his deepest sympathy to the Lorenz family and to the Berk family. Those six seconds have changed the lives of a number of people forever.”
Judge Griffith-Jones told Brown: “For you, a man of 76 who has lived a hard-working, good family life and has a clean driving licence, this is a complete catastrophe for you as well.
“I don’t forget the family of the deceased or the injured man. It is a catastrophe for everyone involved."
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