A motorist was ‘driving like a mad-man’ when he hit and killed a 14-year-old boy outside a Sheffield school, a court heard.
Adrian Webster, aged 43, of Manor Park Centre, Manor, in Sheffield is said to have been driving at ‘up to 45 mph’ outside a school when he hit Lawrence Moorhouse on Beaumont Road North on December 10, 2013 around 4.15pm.
Medics at Sheffield Children’s Hospital fought to save the Sheffield Park Academy pupil, but he was pronounced dead the following day.
Marcello Finnochiaro, a motorist who witnessed Webster’s driving just minutes before the collision, told the jury at Sheffield Crown Court the driver was driving in a ‘slalom’ between cars.
He told the court that he was on his way to Lidl on Castlebeck Road with his family when he saw a silver Vauxhall Astra ‘going fast’ cutting in between cars.
He said a car in front ‘sounded their horn’ as Webster ‘nearly crashed’ into them on Prince of Wales Road.
“The car was driving fast, passing cars on the left and then the right, like a slalom like a zig-zag.” Mr Finnochiario said.
“This is not a normal way to drive a car.
“He was driving like a mad-man, driving like a maniac.”
Mr Finnochiario added that he saw the car go onto Beaumont Road North ‘going fast’.
He said: “I thought to myself he (Webster) could cause damage today and he will crash into somebody.
“I have kids and It’s dangerous to drive like that there is a school and lots of houses around.”
After coming out of Lidl, Mr Finnachiario said he saw ‘blue emergency lights’ heading on Beaumont Road North and said ‘he sensed’ that Webster had been in an accident.
Webster, who called 999 after colliding with Lawrence told police that he was going ‘between 28 and 30 mph’.
Jason Pitter, prosecuting, played a re-construction to the jury of police travelling on Beaumont Road North at 30, 40 and 45 mph.
The collision was captured on CCTV and replayed to show a comparison of speeds.
Mr Pitter said: “He (Webster) said that the cause of the accident was the sole responsibility of the deceased and the boy ‘stepped out in front of him’.
“The speed most matches the footage of the police vehicle going at 45 mph.
Mr Pitter added:“This is not just the speed that makes this dangerous.
“What makes this driving dangerous is the location of the school where the defendant was driving.
“Also there was a line of stationary cars and the fact this around 4pm when you expect there will be school children around.
“If the driver had been driving at a lower speed then this would have changed the suitability to whether Lawrence would have crossed the road.
Webster, who denies causing death by dangerous driving, also told police whilst being interviewed under caution he ‘did not know’ there was a school on the road despite living just a few roads away.
He added that because he tools in the back it was ‘not possible’ to accelerate to reach that speed of 45 mph.
The trial continues.