Beds, Herts & Bucks

Luiz Rocker cleared over teens' A10 deer crash death

Charlotte Dove and Daniela Ruggiero Image copyright Family handout
Image caption Charlotte Dove (left) and Daniela Ruggiero were killed when another car struck theirs from behind

A man has been cleared of causing the deaths by dangerous driving of two teenagers whose car he crashed into after they had hit a deer.

Charlotte Dove, 17, was the passenger of Daniela Ruggiero, 18, who stopped her Citroen C1 when she struck the deer on the A10 in Hertfordshire in 2013.

The car caught fire when it was hit at 68mph by Luiz Rocker's Volvo V40, leaving both teenagers trapped inside.

Mr Rocker admitted driving carelessly and will be sentenced next month.

St Albans Crown Court heard how Ms Ruggiero, from Hoddesdon, was driving on the northbound carriageway between High Cross and Standon at about 07:45 BST on 15 October when the deer leapt over the central barrier.

'Spark ignited'

Prosecutor Peter Shaw said Ms Ruggiero struck the animal and stopped.

Accident investigators worked out 48-year-old Mr Rocker's vehicle slammed into the rear of the stationary Citroen six seconds later and the prosecution argued he had failed to brake in time or reduce his speed before crashing.

Image copyright South Beds News Agency
Image caption Luiz Rocker tried to rescue the teenagers from the flaming car

The Citroen was shunted forward and caught fire when a spark ignited fuel from the vehicle's ruptured tank.

Mr Rocker said his attention had been drawn to debris flying through the air from the Citroen and there was nothing he could have done to prevent the crash.

The jury heard the defendant had tried in vain to free the teenagers from the Citroen.

Judge Mark Dennis the case was unusual because it had not involved speeding or a car weaving in and out of traffic or going through traffic lights but instead had concentrated on "an omission to act fast enough".

Image copyright sbna
Image caption The court heard the deer had wandered on to the carriageway, causing Ms Ruggiero to crash into it and stop

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