Two cars sped along Wigan road moments before man on mobility scooter was hit, court told

Two cars were travelling at double the speed of other vehicles on the road moments before one hit a Wigan man riding a mobility scooter, causing fatal injuries, a court heard.

Tuesday, 19th October 2021, 4:51 pm
Updated Thursday, 21st October 2021, 3:12 pm

CCTV footage showed a Vauxhall Zafira, driven by Hanzah Yusuf, and a Volvo S40, driven by his brother Noormohammed Yusuf, travelling along Poolstock Lane in Wigan shortly before the collision with 53-year-old Michael Smith at 8.50pm on February 28, 2019.

Sgt Laura Drew, a collision investigator from Greater Manchester Police, told a jury at Manchester Crown Court that the Volvo was calculated to be driving at least at 53mph as it passed the Tipping Arms pub, 480m before the crash. The speed limit was 30mph.

The Vauxhall Zafira was seen 2.75 seconds later and was calculated to be travelling at the same speed.

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Michael Smith

Sgt Drew said: “The speeds of the Vauxhall and the Volvo were around double that of other vehicles using the road at that time.”

The court heard the Highway Code suggests there should be at least a two-second gap between vehicles on roads with faster-moving traffic and this should be doubled on wet roads. It was raining that night.

It would take 48.92m for a vehicle travelling at 53mph to stop on a wet road when the emergency brake was applied, Sgt Drew said.

Footage from another CCTV camera was used to estimate that the cars were both again travelling at double the speed of other vehicles and were still 2.75 seconds apart.

The aftermath of the crash

Another camera on Poolstock Lane showed the Volvo travelling around 1.5 times faster than other cars, so perhaps 44mph, the court heard.

The Vauxhall Zafira collided with Mr Smith, causing fatal injuries, before it crashed through a fence and hit a silver van parked outside a house.

Hanzah Yusuf, 21, of Park Lane, Abram, has pleaded guilty to causing death by dangerous driving.

His brother Noormohammed Yusuf, 31, of the same address, denies the same offence and is currently standing trial.

After the collision, the Vauxhall Zafira was examined to see if there was anything significantly wrong that could have caused the collision.

The only finding was the tread depth on the front driver’s side tyre was below the legal limit of 1.6mm in the centre section, measuring 0.6mm to 1.5mm. It was above the limit on the outer section of the tyre.

The court heard it was not possible to rule out the low tread depth as contributing to the driver losing control of the car.

Sgt Drew said that while the speed of the car would have “greater influence” on Hanzah Yusuf losing control, the lack of tread would “not have helped that situation”.

The Volvo driven by Noormohammed Yusuf was not examined.

The jury also heard statements from Claire Roby, who was driving along Poolstock Lane with her son at the time of the crash.

She said she heard a “loud revving noise” from the other side of the road and saw a dark-coloured vehicle travelling fast and almost fully mount a kerb.

“The manner it was driving was almost like it was being chased due to the speed and my split-second thought was the vehicle was actually attempting to turn left into the side street, but at far too high speed,” she said.

The court was told she heard a loud bang and saw something skid across the road and hit the front of her car. She thought she had run someone over, but her son told her it was debris.

She stopped her car and saw Mr Smith lying in the road, so she tried to stop traffic and helped to provide first aid, including CPR, until paramedics arrived.

A statement from her son was also read to the court, in which he described the crash as “really loud” and said there was “debris everywhere”.

He saw a car with its doors open and airbags deployed, but no-one inside, and said three men who appeared to be involved in the collision returned to the scene.


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