Driver cleared after cyclist killed in crash

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An elderly motorist accused of causing a fatal crash has been cleared after he told a jury that he was on his correct side of the road when he was involved in a collision which resulted in the death of a cyclist.

Walter Coupland (81), of Winsover Road, Spalding, denied causing the death of cyclist Ken Usher by careless driving on February 3 last year.

The jury of six men and six women cleared him after deliberating for more than six hours at the end of a trial at Lincoln Crown Court.

The collision occurred at lunchtime as Coupland turned left off Broadgate onto Parsons Lane at Whaplode Drove.

At the time he was travelling from Spalding to visit a relative in Throckenholt.

Mr Usher (77), a veteran cyclist who lived in Dowsdale, Crowland, died within minutes of the collision.

At the time of the collision he was out on his daily cycle run riding his custom-built three-wheeler.

Coupland told the jury “I was just my side of the centre white line when the collision occurred.

“You have to take that turning very, very steady. That was what I was doing.

“If you don’t do it like that then you don’t know if there is anybody coming up the road.

“I didn’t expect there would be a collision.

“When the collision happened my windscreen was shattered.

“I didn’t know what it was. It happened so quick.

“In over 50 years of driving I’ve never had a speeding ticket or an accident.

“I’m very sorry for what happened. I did take care. I came round the corner and he was right against the white line.”

Robert Underwood , prosecuting, told the jury the fatal collision was caused by Coupland straying over the centre white line into the wrong carriageway.

He told the jury “Ken Usher was blameless. The cause of the collision was the careless driving of the defendant.

“He drove his car across the centre line road markings and as a consequence he struck Ken Usher.

“We say his driving fell below the standard to be expected of a careful and competent driver.”