Dartford Crossing crash: Lorry driver denies watching TV

A lorry driver has denied watching TV on his phone when he killed a motorist by crashing into the back of her car.

Viorel Sandulache, 26, struck 21-year-old Abigail Harvey‘s Audi on the Dartford Crossing in Kent on 3 November 2017.

He admitted playing a TV series while driving, but said his phone was facing down and he was “only listening to it”.

Mr Sandulache denies causing death by dangerous driving, but admits causing death by careless driving.

Footage from CCTV cameras and a dashcam in the cab of Mr Sandulache‘s HGV were played to a jury at Maidstone Crown Court.

Asked why he appeared to look away from the road for 1.5 seconds, Mr Sandulache said: “I was looking at the speedometer so I could check my speed.”

He denied looking down to watch the TV programme and said: “It was to regulate my speed.”

Asked how he felt about the death of Ms Harvey, he said: “I feel overwhelmed; very remorseful.”

Dashcam footage from earlier in the journey showed Romanian-born Mr Sandulache holding the phone in his right hand, while subsequent footage played to the jury showed the brake lights of Ms Harvey‘s car illuminate shortly before the crash.

Kirsten Heath, a forensic collision investigator at Kent Police, said Mr Sandulache, of Grays, Essex, had lowered his gaze, then looked up again 1.25 seconds before crashing in to the back of Ms Harvey‘s car.

The court heard he was twice caught using his phone while driving and given penalty points on his licence in the three years before the crash.

Ms Harvey, of Basildon, Essex, was airlifted to hospital, where she died three days after the crash.

The trial continues.