A LORRY driver who was involved in a crash which killed a cyclist told a jury he gave enough room so he could safely get past.

Richard Merris was behind the wheel of an HGV on the A449 at Hartlebury, travelling towards Worcester, when there was a crash involving his lorry and two cyclists riding in front.

Barry Brettell, of Brierley Hill, died at the scene of the crash on October 22, 2018.

Merris, aged 50, denies causing death by dangerous driving and an alternative count of causing death by careless driving.

Kidderminster Shuttle:

The defendant, of Masters Lane, Halesowen, further denies causing serious injury by dangerous driving to William Higgins, a friend of Mr Brettell.

On Friday, Merris resumed being cross examined, with Fiona Elder, prosecuting, putting to him that he gave the cyclists insufficient space when he made the manoeuvre to go past them.

But Merris denied this, saying: “I have seen the cyclists, I moved over to pass them.”

Following a further question from his defence barrister Mark Kelly, Merris added: “I took enough steps, gave them enough room.”

Merris also said he had been momentarily “blinded by the sun” and said he carried out “progressive breaking” when he heard a bang and thought he had a tyre burnout - doing this to avoid the lorry veering off, which he said can happen when slamming on brakes.

Michael Prime, the defence’s expert witness who has worked in investigating road traffic collisions for more than 30 years, then took the stand and said it was “entirely plausible” Mr Brettel had moved into the path of the lorry.

“If something like that happens, response time is one-and-a-half seconds or less,” Mr Prime said. “In reality, there is nothing a driver is going to be able to do about it.”

He added that according to his measurements, based on skidmarks on the road, the collision between the lorry and Mr Brettell would have happened 1.75 metres away from the outside of the white line on the near side of the road.

Reverend Emma Stanford said Merris was a family friend, describing him as hard-working, kind and generous.

She added: “He is a privilege to know."

The trial is scheduled to resume tomorrow, when the prosecution and defence sum up the case before the jury retires.