Windscreen of death crash lorry was ‘dirty’

Scene of the tragedy in Hamilton.
Scene of the tragedy in Hamilton.

The windscreen of a lorry involved in a crash which killed an elderly Motherwell couple had a ‘layer of dirt’ which would have made visibility difficult, a court has heard.

Jake and Emma Grier, both 76, of Roman Road, Motherwell, died when they were hit by the HGV in Hamilton town centre.

Lorry driver John Campbell (66), of Parkhouse, Glasgow, is on trial at Hamilton Sheriff Court. He denies causing the couple’s deaths by careless driving in January 2011.

Mr and Mrs Grier had travelled by bus to go shopping in Hamilton. They had just got off the bus and were crossing Blackswell Lane at traffic lights when they were struck by the lorry.

Witnesses said it appeared the lorry driver hadn’t seen the couple. The bus driver said the lorry moved off after the crash and he managed to stop it a few hundred yards away.

Beata Steel (34) told the court the pedestrian lights were at green when the couple crossed, but Campbell’s solicitor said CCTV evidence would show the lights were at red.

PC Stuart Donald said he inspected the lorry cab after the crash. He noticed when the ignition key was switched on that the radio volume was ‘extremely high’.

PC Donald added: “There was a layer of dirt on the front windscreen. It would have restricted your view. It would hinder what you actually could see.”

The court heard earlier that checks had shown the lorry was safe to drive and Natalie Henderson, prosecuting, asked PC Donald if he thought that wasn’t the case.

The officer said despite the ‘restricted’ visibility he would have driven a vehicle with a windscreen in that condition, but would have used the wipers and wash to remove the dirt.

Questioned by defence agent Simon Collins, PC Donald said the tragedy happened on a frosty morning and agreed that the windscreen would have been dirty because of grit and salt from the roads.

The trial before Sheriff Joyce Powrie and a jury continues.