A DRIVER accused of causing a fatal crash before fleeing the scene and lying to police made a tearful apology to the victim’s family as he gave evidence in his trial.

Gary Craven denies being to blame for the death of Steve Spear in a crash on the A35 Sea Road South, Bridport on November 13, 2017.

Mr Spear died of his injuries after his pick-up truck was in collision with Craven’s Mercedes convertible at the Hollow Way junction.

Craven, aged 32, of Crock Lane, Bridport, is on trial at Bournemouth Crown Court. He denies death by dangerous driving, claiming “there was nothing he could have done” to avoid the crash as Mr Spear’s car “rolled out” in front of him.

He also denies three counts of causing serious injury.

Giving evidence yesterday, Craven, denied being an “arrogant” driver and “showing off” his car to his friends as he gave them a lift after spending the night in a pub.

Evidence showed Craven was travelling between 67mph and 73mph in a 40mph zone when the crash happened shortly before 11.15pm.

Asked why he’d sped up to nearly double the limit, Craven said: “It was a wider part of the road, there being no vehicles and me being the competent driver I believed it was safe to do so.

“I wasn’t aware [of Mr Spear’s vehicle] until the crash happened. Before I had time to process it was there, it happened.”

Asked by prosecutor Jane Rowley if he accepted it was dangerous to put his foot down on the stretch of road, Craven replied: “I don’t accept it as being dangerous, I was in full control of my vehicle. I had a lapse of concentration which we all do, we’re human.”

The jury was reminded how Craven had fled from the crash scene to his home and dumped the jacket he was wearing in the crash, before police tracked him down at his home and forced entry before arresting him.

Asked why he ran from the scene without checking on his passengers or Mr Spear, Craven said: “My head had bounced off the steering wheel, I opened the door and ran, I didn’t even look back.

“Someone once told me the meaning of the phrase fight or flight. I didn’t do what I should have done that night and I have to live with that for the rest of my life. I’m not a bad man.”

Craven admitted putting a full load of washing on as soon as he’d reached his home as well as lying to police in his initial interview, telling them he’d been at home the whole evening and that the injuries he’d suffered were work-related. He denies trying to hide evidence.

“As soon as I was made aware of the seriousness of the situation, I realised I needed to tell the truth,” he said.

After finishing his evidence, Craven tearfully asked for permission to speak to Mr Spear’s family in the public gallery, saying: “I just want to say sorry for to Steven’s wife and family for what happened on that night. I promise I never intended to hurt anybody or be involved in that situation.

“I have tried to better myself since then.

“I have wanted to approach you and say something since that night.

“I’m sorry.”

The trial continues.