A teenage driver who hit and killed an army major taking part in a time trial on the A1 has been found guilty of dangerous driving.
Katie Hart, 19, told Peterborough Crown Court that she did not see Major Gareth Rhys-Evans and only realised she had hit something after she heard a bang and her windscreen smashed.
Maj Rhys-Evans was knocked off his Kinetic-One bike and catapulted over the roof of Hart’s Ford Ka, ending up in the fast lane of the dual carriageway. His injuries proved fatal and he was pronounced dead at the scene.
Hart, of Little Paxton, near St Neots, Cambridgeshire, admitted causing death by careless driving but the Crown Prosecution Service decided she should be tried for the more serious offence of dangerous driving.
On the day of the accident, visibility was good and the weather was dry. Hart, who was on her way to pick up her boyfriend, passed within a foot of another competitor in the race before hitting 37-year-old Maj Rhys-Evans. She told paramedics “he came out of nowhere”, according to WalesOnline.
Judge Nicholas Coleman called for a pre-sentence report but told Hart, a care assistant, that she faced up to five years in jail. She will return to court next month.
Commenting on the case on Timetrialling Forum, Science in Sport rider Claire Lee, who was in court as a witness, said: “We will never know [why Hart hit Maj Rhys-Evans]. She can’t remember being on the A1, can’t remember skimming me, can’t remember anything until the noise of impact. This is all despite every other witness remembering seeing everything…
“The driver is young. She can live on, and despite going to prison she can still make something of her life after this. Gareth won’t. Let’s just hope this case gets plenty of good publicity so that everyone will realise the responsibilities of being on the road, in control of a car, horse, motorbike, bicycle…”
The accident took place near Eaton Ford, Cambridgeshire during the Icknield Road Club 25-mile event on 3 May. The time trial, which had 120 competitors, was immediately abandoned.
Maj Rhys-Evans, originally of Llandovery, Dyfed, Wales, was based at Rheindahlen military base in Germany and had flown back to the UK to compete with the Army Cycling Union.
The married father-of-two commanded 12 Military Intelligence Company, part of 1 Military Intelligence Battalion. He joined the Army aged 25 in 1996, and served with the Royal Artillery before transferring to intelligence.