Cement mixer driver caught hiding his phone after killing cyclist while he was on Facebook Messenger

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    Dan-Constantin Caraza (pictured) was jailed for 40 months after he killed a cyclist

    A callous lorry driver who had been using Facebook Messenger was filmed trying to hide his mobile phone just moments after he killed a cyclist.

    Dan-Constantin Caraza, 30, took his eyes off the road as his cement mixer veered to the left and ploughed into Brian Riley, 65, who was pushing his bicycle in a cycle lane.

    An external camera at the front of the lorry filmed Caraza jumping out of his lorry immediately after the collision and opening up an external compartment where he placed his mobile phone.

    It was only after he hid his phone that the camera showed him slowly walking to the rear of his Volvo lorry to see what had happened to Mr Riley.

    Caraza's cement mixer veered to the left and ploughed into 65-year-old Brian Riley (pictured)

    Caraza’s cement mixer veered to the left and ploughed into 65-year-old Brian Riley (pictured)

    Caraza was then filmed opening up an external compartment where he placed his mobile

    Caraza was then filmed opening up an external compartment where he placed his mobile

    Emergency services were called and arrived within a matter of minutes, but Mr Riley died at the scene despite the best efforts of paramedics.

    Witnesses reported that the pensioner had been walking well within the designated white line to the nearside of the road and was clearly visible to other road users on the A134 bypass at Long Melford near Sudbury, Suffolk

    They also told police that Caraza appeared to have been looking down into his lap with his lorry veering to the nearside and failing to brake as he collided with Mr Riley at around 10am on October 19, 2018.

    The court heard how dashcam footage obtained from the cement mixer supported the witness accounts, and showed the lorry drifting to the nearside before hitting Mr Riley, who lived near Sudbury.

    Police recovered Caraza’s phone from his hiding place and found that it had been active at the time of the collision, as it had been on a number of occasions earlier the same morning.

    Caraza of Upminster, Essex, pleaded guilty to causing death by dangerous driving, and admitted he had been distracted by his phone, but had not been using it.

    An external camera at the front of the lorry filmed the 30-year-old hiding his mobile phone

    An external camera at the front of the lorry filmed the 30-year-old hiding his mobile phone

    He denied a second charge of committing an act with intent to pervert the course of justice by concealing the phone. Prosecutors opted to not pursue this matter following his admission of causing death by dangerous driving and the charge was ordered to be left on the file.

    Caraza was jailed for 40 months, disqualified from driving for five years and eight months and ordered to take an extended retest before being allowed to drive again.

    Judge Martyn Levett had warned him at an earlier hearing that he would be ‘facing a lengthy prison sentence in view of the seriousness of the offence.’

    The judge added: ‘You were driving a heavy lorry carrying cement at the time. I have watched CCTV dash cam footage which shows the collision and the devastating effect of hitting another person on the road.’

    The court heard that the road was closed by police for nearly seven hours while an investigation took place.

    Alexander Stein, defending said Caraza was a professional lorry driver and had no previous convictions in the UK or Romania.

    After hiding his phone, he slowly walked to the rear to see what happened to Mr Riley

    After hiding his phone, he slowly walked to the rear to see what happened to Mr Riley 

    He said it was accepted that Caraza had been distracted by Facebook messenger immediately before the collision.

    Detective Inspector Chris Hinitt, of Suffolk Police’s Serious Collision Investigation Unit, said: ‘This was another completely avoidable death, caused by a professional driver who showed complete disregard for the lives and safety of other road users.

    ‘The weather conditions that day were clear and fine and Mr Riley would have been visible at a distance of several hundred metres ahead, so it is clear that Caraza had been distracted for a considerable length of time, which the witness testimonies support.

    ‘By comparing Caraza’s phone data with the onboard cameras, our investigators found that he had been using his mobile phone whilst driving on a number of occasions that morning, and that during these periods the vehicle had often strayed from the correct lane and been driven at excess speed.

    ‘I struggle to find the right words to express my feelings about this incident and the sheer mindlessness that brought a very sudden and abrupt end to a 65-year-old man’s life.

    ‘The reckless driving was compounded by the fact that after the collision, Caraza’s first thought was where to put his phone, rather than rush to the assistance of the man he had just hit – truly shocking behaviour.

    ‘This should highlight to motorists beyond any doubt what a dangerous combination mobile phones and driving are.

    ‘It does not matter whether you are using the phone to make a call or send a message, or whether you are looking at it and therefore distracted by it, either way you are gambling with the lives of others.

    ‘The message is simple – put your phone away when you are driving. If caught using or holding your phone, at best you will receive six points on your licence and a £200 fine. At worst, you could be responsible for killing someone.’ 

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