A man was hit and killed by a BMW on the motorway after getting out of his wrecked car which had been sent spinning into a road barrier in a collision with a lorry, a court has heard.
Alex Butwell was said to be dazed when standing in the road following the collision near Warwick Services on the M40 in March last year.
He was then hit by the BMW and thrown 45 metres by the force of the impact.
Hearing the case at Warwick Crown Court this week, a jury was told that both the driver of the artic lorry which shunted Mr Butwell’s VW Polo across the road and the BMW driver were to blame for his death.
HGV driver George Carr, 63 of The Hurn, Digby, Linconshire, has pleaded not guilty to causing Mr Butwell’s death by dangerous driving.
And BMW driver Donald Corrigan, 67 of Butt Lane, Allesley, Coventry, has denied causing the 25-year-old’s death by driving without due care and attention.
Leading the prosecution for the case, Stefan Kolodynski said that in the early hours of Sunday March 23, a group of car enthusiasts set off to a car show in Northamptonshire.
Mr Butwell, from Oldbury, was in a white VW Polo with his girlfriend Rachel Crawford and friend, Ashley Gibson.
They met other enthusiasts at Warwick Services and left in a convoy of about 11 vehicles, with Mr Butwell at the head, at around 4.40am.
Mr Kolodynski told the court the convoy was travelling at 46 to 50mph in the first lane of the motorway at the same time as Carr was driving his artic towards Banbury to make a delivery.
The lorry approached the cars on an unlit section of the motorway after the service area. All vehicles had their lights on.
Mr Kolodynski said: “He passed the majority of the convoy, but when he started his manoeuvre back into lane one, that’s when the Crown say his driving was so badly that it was dangerous. It set off a chain of events which led to the death of Alex Butwell.
“He made a dreadful mistake. He failed to ensure that when he began his move back into lane one he was clear of the convoy.”
He said Carr began to pull in when the front of his cab was level with the Polo, and the passenger step of the cab struck the rear of the car.
He said: “Ashley Gibson screamed at Alex to try to speed up to escape from the situation, and he did. But it was not enough, and the Polo was bumped again.
“It led to it being hooked, and pushed and dragged in front of the lorry, and it was shunted down the motorway.
“Rachel Crawford looked across at her boyfriend and saw the lorry’s grille right against the window of the driver’s door. It then jettisoned the Polo which spun across the motorway into the central Arnco barrier.”
The car ended up with its back end touching the barrier and the front extending two-thirds of the way into the third lane, as Carr carried on his way.
One of Mr Butwell’s friends followed Carr and eventually got him to stop, while the rest of the convoy and a recovery vehicle pulled onto the hard shoulder with their hazard lights on.
At the same time, Corrigan was driving past in a BMW 320i on his way to the airport.
The court heard that after he passed Warwick Services he noticed the hazard lights, moved into the third lane and began to slow down.
Mr Kolodynski said: “Tragically for Mr Butwell, he failed to pay attention to what was directly ahead of him, a bright white Polo, and his vehicle struck the front nearside, also hitting Mr Butwell whose 75 kilo body was thrown 45 metres down the carriageway.
“The Crown say that, all things being equal, if he was truly driving carefully he would have seen the Polo and avoided a collision, rather than his attention being distracted elsewhere.
“The collisions and the subsequent death of Mr Butwell was down to driver error.”
The trial continues.
The two passengers he had been carrying were both of who were sheltering behind the road barrier and were unhurt.