Retired HGV driver who killed ‘kind and thoughtful’ cyclist in smash walks free from court

A retired HGV driver has walked free from court after he killed a dad-of-three in a smash. John Crozier, who has one eye, failed to spot cyclist Robert Eaves when his car crashed into him on Dunham Road in Warburton, Trafford. The dad of three, who was described as ‘kind, thoughtful and clever’ died as a result of his injuries following the smash last year.

Crozier, from Warrington, now has “sleepless nights” and and never wants to drive again, Manchester Magistrates’ Court heard. The family of Mr Eaves, who were sat at the back of the courtroom, expressed sounds of shock when they heard that the case would not be sent to Crown Court and that Crozier would receive a community sentence. Crozier, of Wellington Street, admitted to causing death by careless or inconsiderate driving following the crash on May 25, 2020.

James Gore, prosecuting, said that there were a number of witnesses to the incident that took place after 7am. One of which was Mr Taylor, the defendant’s son-in-law. He said that Crozier was driving at a “slow and safe speed” but that the sun was “dazzling”.

Mr Taylor noticed the cyclist and called out to Crozier but “before he could say anything else” the side of the car smashed into the cyclist, the prosecution told the court. This caused Mr Eaves to come off the bike and land on the floor, the court heard. Mr Taylor got out of the car and helped to assist him.

a person walking down the street talking on a cell phone (C) MEN/Kenny Brown

One witness, who was behind Crozier’s car, said she heard an “almighty bang” and realised the cyclist had been hit, the court heard.

Mr Gore told the court that when police spoke to the defendant he was given a breath test, which was negative. He was also given an eyesight test, where it was established that he had had an eye removed due to cancer some years ago, the court heard. Emma Bracewell, defending, said that the Crozier “wishes to pass on his condolences to the family”.

“He accepts full responsibility and is extremely, extremely sorry for what occurred,” she told the court. She said that Crozier was driving in a “slow and cautious manner” and had taken precautions but had failed to account for the presence of a cyclist. Miss Bracewell said the collision was “unavoidable” and that the defendant only had a four second window to see Mr Eaves on his bike.

“This was a momentary inattention,” she told the court. She said that he was not driving at speed and that he was not distracted.

a sign on the side of a building: John Crozier, who has one eye, failed to spot cyclist Robert Eaves when his car crashed into him on Dunham Road in Warburton. (C) Getty Images John Crozier, who has one eye, failed to spot cyclist Robert Eaves when his car crashed into him on Dunham Road in Warburton.

Miss Bracewell said there was a sunlight issue, and that he did have his sun visor down, but that he should have stopped his car. The court heard that Crozier was a “man of good character” who had no previous convictions and no points of his driving licence.

But he was a HGV driver and lost his licence due to cancer. He is now a full-time carer for his wife. Miss Bracewell told the court that Crozier does “not want to drive again” and that he is “anxious about being behind the wheel”.

District Judge Begley asked Miss Bracewell how Crozier has coped, 12 months on. She said that he “still has sleepless nights” and is concerned about Mr Eaves’ children. “That’s how he’s been.

He did not wish to drive again,” she told the judge. After hearing statements from the family, friends, and employer of Mr Eaves, District Judge Begley said that nothing he could say could change the fact that Mr Eaves had lost his life. “You will have to live with that, no doubt forever,” said Mr Begley, addressing the defendant.

Crozier was given a 12-month community order with 100 hours of unpaid work and has been banned from driving for a year. He’s also be told to pay GBP95 in victim surcharge and GBP85 in court costs. As the sentence was read out, the wife of Mr Eaves, Eleanor, shouted out, “What does that do?”.

The defendant responded by saying: “I don’t know.

I’m just sorry.”