A mother died and her daughter was injured when they were struck by a runaway van which rolled down a hill, a jury heard.
Mohammed Karani had parked the Ford Transit connect van on Swindon Road, Dewsbury while doing some electrical work at the Medina Academy.
Stephen Wood prosecuting told Leeds Crown Court today that CCTV footage showed him twice returning to the vehicle and removing tools.
But around 34 minutes after he was last seen at the van it was captured moving backwards slowly down the incline, gradually increasing speed until it disappeared from view.
At the same time on the road below Simran Ahmed, 46, was crossing Willans Road onto the pavement with two children including her daughter Kiran aged 10.
“What then unfolded was seen by a number of witnesses and you may think must have been traumatic to view.”
The van with no one inside picked up speed until it reached about 15 miles an hour careering across the road and crushing Mrs Ahmed against a wall and seriously injuring Kiran.
Mr Wood told the jury one witness seeing the van remembered thinking to himself “brake, brake” as he saw what was happening but of course it did not.
“Witnesses at the scene immediately thought the worst. Sadly they were right. Simran Ahmed sustained catastrophic internal injuries from which she could not recover. Her daughter suffered a fractured skull.”
People rushed to help and one man pushed the van off the pavement where it had come to rest trapping the pedestrians, others gave first aid until the ambulance and paramedics arrived.
No one entered the van which was locked. While the police were there Karani came down the hill and went to unlock it but was moved away and the keys were taken from him.
The van was until examined by investigator John Green and no mechanical defect was found. He noticed the gear stick was in neutral and the parking brake was only partially applied on two notches out of a possible six.
Tests showed when on four it was easily able to hold its position on the hill.
Mr Green concluded the brake was not applied fully, the vehicle was left in neutral rather than forward gear and had the full steering wheel lock engaged wheels at an angle that would have stopped the car going backwards in a straight line.
Mr Wood told the jury it was the crown’s case it was still careless driving even if Karani was not behind the wheel at the time if it was “careless in the way he left the vehicle”.
He said that meant assessing how the notional competent and careful driver would have parked on a road with this degree of incline. When Mr Karani got out of the vehicle he must have appreciated just how steep this road was.”
“The standard of the competent and careful driver is set by the Highway Code.”
When Karani was interviewed he confirmed parking the van and said he was inside the college when someone shouted it was at the bottom of the hill. Asked if he left it in gear he said he did not remember but usually did.
Mr Wood told the jury it was the prosecution case he had not left the brake on fully, had left the gear in neutral and had not turned his wheel lock on fully.
“The inescapable conclusion is that had Mr Karani taken these precautions then this tragic collision would not have occurred.”
He urged the jury to put aside any emotional response to the events. “Such feelings are entirely understandable. It is entirely human and humane response to such a tragedy. But such feelings or emotions have no part to play in your deliberations over the guilt or innocence of Mr Karanai.”
The trial continues.