Declan Osborne: Passenger 'pulled up handbrake before car knocked down moped rider'
A driver accused of causing serious injury to a teenager lost control of his car because the front-seat passenger deployed the handbrake, it has been claimed.
Danny Dale had just overtaken a car and did not see 16-year-old Declan Osborne, who was preparing to make a right turn, until it was too late, Wolverhampton Crown Court was told.
Dale’s Honda Civic struck Mr Osborne’s moped, cannoned into a wall and spun back into Birmingham Road at its junction with Macmillan Road, Rowley Regis.
Prosecutor Mr Edmund Blackman told the jury that analysis of CCTV footage showed the car was going at 60mph in a 30 zone around 200 metres before the impact.
Jonathan Mundle had allowed his girlfriend’s car to be driven by 26-year-old Dale to see if his friend wanted to buy it, the court heard.
Mr Devon Small, defending, said to Mr Mundle during cross examination: “You pulled up the handbrake and that caused the car to go out of control.”
Mr Mundle replied: “I never touched the handbrake.”
He also dismissed a further suggestion that he had been urging Dale to go faster shortly before disaster struck.
Mr Small maintained Dale had been told by his pal to put his foot down and encouraged to overtake other cars but was travelling at ‘just over 30mph.’
Mr Mundle retorted: “If he had been doing 30 he would never have hit the bike.”
Mr Blackman observed: “The prosecution does not believe that the passenger pulled up the handbrake but even if he did that does not make any difference.
"The defendant is responsible because he was driving far faster than he should have done.”
Pedestrian Mr Steven Breakwell, who witnessed the crash, told the jury: “The car passed me at 65 to 70mph on the wrong side of the road. The moped had gone by shortly before the car at around 25mph.
“I saw the indicator go on the scooter. I am 100 per cent sure it was flashing.
"As soon as the Honda passed me I knew something serious was going to happen.
“He braked heavily and hit the scooter. I saw the lad go up in the air and his helmet flying off. I ran down to help and, like others, did the best I could."
Mr Breakwell said the driver got out of the car and ran off without even checking on the condition of the victim who received a broken leg, fractured jaw and eye socket, bruised lungs and a brain injury, from which he still suffers.
The defendant did not hand himself in to police until three days after the January 30 2016 crash.
Mr Mundle, who suffered head injuries and lost consciousness for a short time following the impact, also left the scene after coming round to discover Dale had fled.
The passenger, who returned with his girlfriend to talk to police investigating the crash soon afterwards, confessed: "I panicked."
Dale from Habberley Road, Blackheath pleads not guilty to causing serious injury to Declan Osborne by dangerous driving and the case continues.