A FIRE engine driver whose appliance collided with a motorcyclist is expected to admit causing serious injury by careless driving on his return to court next month.

Kevin Hall’s counsel, Tanvir Qureshi, told Durham Crown Court his client would plead guilty to the revised charge and Robin Turton, for the Crown, said that would be considered “acceptable” to the prosecution.

Crown Prosecution Service lawyers have been considering their options after a jury failed to reach a verdict following a trial at the court last month on the more serious offence of causing the injuries by dangerous driving.

The 45-year-old firefighter, from Seaham, who has been driving appliances since 2004, was at the wheel of the Volvo engine returning to High Handenhold Fire Station, near Stanley, after a call-out was aborted, just after 6am on May 1, last year.

During his trial the court Durham Crown Court the jury was told he was seeking to turn back down the A693.

His watch manager suggested turning left onto Green Banks, as the road leading to the station was a no-right turn junction, but Hall took that option as there was light traffic and he felt it was the safer of the two.

Having indicated right, he veered slightly left before starting the right turn.

Believing there was no traffic for some distance behind, Mr Hall looked in his rear-view mirrors and saw a motorcycle striking the front locker of the appliance.

The motorcycle was sent sliding out of control along the road before striking a barrier. Crew members offered first-aid at the scene before the rider was taken by ambulance to hospital.

The 52-year-old motorcyclist, who was returning home having worked night shift on the Drum Industrial Estate, suffered serious multiple injuries, including rib fractures, an un-displaced should blade fracture, a smashed spleen, which had to be surgically removed, while his left ring finger had to be amputated.

He remained in hospital for 30 days before he was well enough to be discharged.

Hall admitted contravening a traffic regulation but denied causing serious injury by dangerous driving.

After a three-day hearing the jury was discharged having failed to reach even a majority verdict.