Motorist was blinded by sun in moments before fatal crash with cyclist Colin Crowther in Copdock, court hears

Colin Crowther

Colin Crowther - Credit: Archant

A motorist accused of causing the death of a 69-year-old cyclist told police he had been blinded by the sun and had not seen him, a court has heard.

Sam Burrows, 29, was driving along the Capel St Mary-bound carriageway of the Old London Road, Copdock, at 2.30pm on January 16 when he struck the back of a bike being ridden by retired planning officer Colin Crowther, Ipswich Crown Court was told.

The accident happened near to the Cameo Hotel.

The impact caused Mr Crowther, of Brackenhayes Close, Ipswich, to come off his bike and hit the near side windscreen of the Citroen before somersaulting over the car and landing on the ground in a bus lay-by, said Richard Kelly, prosecuting.

He said that Burrows, who was “clearly very shaken” had stopped just beyond the collision scene and told witnesses he had been blinded by the sun.

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Burrows, of Clive Avenue, Ipswich, has denied causing Mr Crowther’s death by careless driving on January 16 last year.

The court heard that Mr Crowther was a keen cyclist and was fit for his age.

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On the day of the collision he was riding a semi-professional lightweight road bike and was wearing safety equipment, including a helmet and a fluorescent yellow bib.

Mr Kelly told the court that at the time of the accident the sun was low in the sky and would have been shining towards Mr Crowther and any cars travelling behind him.

He said the speed limit for that stretch of road was 50mph and it was accepted that Burrows had been driving at 39 to 47mph.

Mr Crowther was taken to hospital but died later the same night from his injuries.

After his arrest Burrows, who had been on his way to work, told police he had not seen Mr Crowther.

“I just heard a bang, that was the first I knew,” he said.

He said he had his sun visor down and when he got to the top of an incline he had taken his foot off the accelerator and rested it on the brake without depressing it because of the glare from the road.

He claimed he was then “suddenly” blinded by the sun and squinted and within a second or two he had hit something.

The court heard that another motorist who was driving behind Burrows described the driving conditions as suddenly becoming “exceptionally poor”.

He said that in addition to the direct glare of the sun there was also glare from the wet road surface.

The trial continues today.

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