Eaglescliffe driver spared jail after causing cyclist's death

First published in News The Northern Echo: Photograph of the Author by

A DRIVER who ran over and killed a cyclist as he made his way to work has walked free from court after a judge said it would profit no one to jail him.

John Fields admitted causing the death of Andrew Hutton by driving without due care and attention, having previously denied a more serious charge of death by dangerous driving.

Fields, 48, of Myrtle Road, Eaglescliffe , near Stockton, collided with Mr Hutton, a 45- year-old electrician from Redcar , as he rode his bicycle on the A174 road at Greystones roundabout, near Lazenby, east Cleveland.

Matthew Bean, prosecuting at Teesside Crown Court, said Fields, who was driving a VW Transporter, drove his vehicle into the rear of Mr Hutton’s bike after he drifted over a white line at the side of the carriageway beyond which the victim was cycling.

Mr Bean said witnesses described how Fields did not alter his course, causing Mr Hutton to be thrown from the bike and suffer fatal injuries.

He said: “At the point of impact Mr Hutton would have been in view for at least 11 seconds.”

Following the accident at 7.10am on October 7, last year, Fields said he did not see Mr Hutton and just heard a “loud bang”.

Mr Bean said the victim was clearly visible, having lights on his bike and wearing a coloured helmet. Fields was also driving under the 70mph limit, because a limiter on his van meant he could go no faster than 60mph.

The prosecutor said the Crown accepted that Fields had simply failed to see Mr Hutton and described it as a serious case of careless driving.

The court heard how Fields, who was of previous good character and had an unblemished driving record, stopped at the scene to administer first aid and also called the emergency services.

His barrister, Peter Makepeace, said he was a quiet, decent man who felt very deep remorse which would remain with him for the rest of his life.

Judge Howard Crowson said the “terrible consequence”

of Field’s actions was that a family had lost a loved one and he would have to live with that responsibility.

The judge said sentencing guidelines meant he could only jail him for a maximum of 36 weeks, which would not profit anybody.

Instead, he suspended the 36-week sentence for 18 months and also ordered Fields to do 250 hours unpaid work. He was disqualified from driving for a year.

Comments (4)

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6:29pm Sat 29 Sep 12

HerbieGreen says...

How is this justice? Nor is it a deterrent to others who will probably feel they can now use the same defence - 'I didn't see him/her, therefore I'm not responsible for my actions' - unbelievable!!
How is this justice? Nor is it a deterrent to others who will probably feel they can now use the same defence - 'I didn't see him/her, therefore I'm not responsible for my actions' - unbelievable!! HerbieGreen
  • Score: 3

6:31pm Sat 29 Sep 12

HerbieGreen says...

How about chaining a white 'Ghost Bike' outside Mr Fields house - so that he really has to live with it every day!!
How about chaining a white 'Ghost Bike' outside Mr Fields house - so that he really has to live with it every day!! HerbieGreen
  • Score: 4

1:16pm Sun 30 Sep 12

FNS-man says...

Fine, don't jail him. But how can this joker be let out on the roads again? He has killed someone through inattention.

Does anyone feel comfortable having this person driving on roads where your family could be walking, cycling or driving?
Fine, don't jail him. But how can this joker be let out on the roads again? He has killed someone through inattention. Does anyone feel comfortable having this person driving on roads where your family could be walking, cycling or driving? FNS-man
  • Score: 1

3:06pm Mon 1 Oct 12

Opus the Poet says...

This was supposed to be a professional driver in a company vehicle, hence the limiter on the vehicle. He should have been even more aware of the cyclist, not less, than a person "just" driving a car. And even so he only gets a single year away from driving? He should be banned for life, with being in control of a motor vehicle carrying the same penalty as being in illegal possession of a firearm. After all a firearm is only lethal about 9% of the time it hits a human, where motor vehicles are 5% lethal at 20 MPH, 50% lethal at 30 MPH, and 99+% lethal at the speed the driver hit Mr. Hutton.
This was supposed to be a professional driver in a company vehicle, hence the limiter on the vehicle. He should have been even more aware of the cyclist, not less, than a person "just" driving a car. And even so he only gets a single year away from driving? He should be banned for life, with being in control of a motor vehicle carrying the same penalty as being in illegal possession of a firearm. After all a firearm is only lethal about 9% of the time it hits a human, where motor vehicles are 5% lethal at 20 MPH, 50% lethal at 30 MPH, and 99+% lethal at the speed the driver hit Mr. Hutton. Opus the Poet
  • Score: 0

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