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Driver in fatal crash told police: “I didn’t know at time it was a person I’d hit”

James “Jimmy” Greenwood

A DRIVER involved in a fatal A66 collision with a pedestrian told police when interviewed: “I didn’t know at the time it was a person I’d hit.”

Carlisle Crown Court has heard 61-year-old James Greenwood suffered fatal injuries when he was hit by a BMW car while he crossed an unlit section of the road close to Braithwaite, Keswick, on foot just after midnight on April 7 last year.

Matthew Leggett

BMW driver Matthew Paul Leggett, 24, has gone on trial. He denies one charge alleging he did acts tending and intended to pervert the course of public justice in the crash aftermath.

The prosecution allege Leggett “abandoned” his car next to secluded woodland near Bassenthwaite, and “deliberately disposed” of his mobile phone after calling his best friend immediately after the tragic collision.

When interviewed by police after the crash, Leggett, of Sonnets Way, Cockermouth, recalled seeing people standing “in the road” moments before the crash.

“I’ve looked at them, I’ve noticed they we there and then someone must have stepped out,” he told officers. “It all just happened so fast. I just remember seeing the people, then all of a sudden just a big bang.”

“I’ve panicked and I’ve kept driving,” he added. “I was panicking. I was in shock. I was upset. I didn’t know at the time that it was a person I’d hit.”

He was collected by a friend and travelled to Cockermouth, where early the next morning, he said, he was planning to report what had happened to police just before he was arrested.

Jurors heard today Leggett had previously pleaded guilty to three charges arising from the incident. He admits post-crash dangerous driving having travelled for 12 miles with a smashed windscreen, and also failing to report an accident and failing to stop afterwards.

A police collision investigator has concluded Leggett’s actions immediately prior to the impact “were those expected of a reasonable and competent driver”.

The trial continues.

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