Oxford

'Good Samaritan' not guilty of careless driving death

Richard Wills
Image caption Richard Wills (left) was found not guilty at Oxford Crown Court

A "Good Samaritan" who pulled-over at the scene of a car crash and accidently ran over another man has been found not guilty of causing death by careless driving.

Richard Wills, 58, reversed over 59-year-old Geoff Smith who had been walking on a verge towards a crash.

Both men stopped after Joshua French crashed his Fiat Punto on the A4260 in Oxfordshire on 30 December 2016.

A jury found Mr Wills not guilty at Oxford Crown Court.

The court heard the father of two - who carried out road maintenance for Skanska - was driving a truck on the way to do some pothole repairs when he saw the accident in Middle Aston at about 08:00 on a "gloomy" day.

He saw Mr Smith, who was from Bloxham near Banbury, walking on the verge towards the overturned car before he stopped and started to reverse back towards crash.

Mr Wills said he switched on the truck's beacons and was reversing at walking pace when he felt a bump and heard a scream.

He got out to help Mr Smith but he was not responsive and died of multiple injuries.

'Tragic' accident

Both prosecution and defence agreed the accused was being a "Good Samaritan", and did not mean to hit Mr Smith.

But the prosecution argued the defendant had not used his mirrors properly and said his driving fell below what could be expected.

Mr Wills said he was looking in both mirrors and did not see the victim, but it was accepted he may have lost sight of a mirror temporarily while his passenger lent forward to get a phone.

The defence said the accident was caused by a "tragic" set of circumstances and a jury unanimously found Mr Wills not guilty.

Image copyright Helen Adkins
Image caption Geoff Smith, from Bloxham, was married with two children and six grandchildren

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