A UK Firefighter killed a grandfather in a “totally avoidable act” when he overturned a fire engine on a roundabout while travelling ‘too fast’ to an emergency call, a court heard. Dad-of-three Mitchell Bailey, 58, was only 75 metres from his home in Royston and was returning from a supermarket when he was crushed by the 12-tonne vehicle.
Firefighter Driver David WIlliams, 48, was said to be speeding when Mr Bailey was pinned to the pavement and killed instantly by the vehicle at 8.40pm on January 18 last year. Opening the trial at St Albans Crown Court on Tuesday (November 6), prosecutor Peter Shaw told the court how Mr Bailey was “blameless” in his death.
He added that emergency services have “the same obligations” as anyone else when driving on the road. “This was a totally avoidable act. “The defendant was working as a firefighter and was driving a fire engine responding to a 999 call when the vehicle went round a roundabout. “He crushed a pedestrian who had been on his way home from the shop where he bought groceries.
“He was blameless in this event. He was not walking in the road. He was walking on the pavement at a mere 75 metres from his house. “It was a tragic accident but it was not a deliberate act.”
RThe court heard through Mr Shaw that Bailey had been travelling between 37.5mph and 39mph when entering the roundabout.
He added how the maximum speed allowed by the emergency service vehicle when on a roundabout is 21.6mph. Mr Shaw said Williams “drove too fast” into the roundabout which caused the Scania fire engine to overturn.
All Hertfordshire Fire Service vehicles also have the words “drive to arrive alive” printed on their backs.
Williams, who appeared in court in his firefighter’s uniform, faces one charge of causing death by dangerous driving and the alternative lesser charge of causing death by careless driving.
He previously denied the causing death by dangerous driving at a hearing at Stevenage Magistrates Court on February 7. He is represented by Mark Balysz who is yet to speak before the court.
He added: “The defendant is a firefighter and he was driving an emergency appliance.
“He was involved in a fatal accident with a pedestrian and this case by its nature is a sensitive one.”
The trial, which is listed for three weeks, continues.