Father cleared of killing cyclist son in crash

Andrew Tetsill had the support of his family. Picture: Peter Jolly
Andrew Tetsill had the support of his family. Picture: Peter Jolly
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A FATHER was found not guilty of killing his cyclist son while he passed him in a pick-up truck, as they finished work in the Highlands.

Andrew Tetsill, 42, of Camelon, Falkirk, denied causing his son Craig’s death by careless driving on an unclassified road leading to Wester Aberchalder, east of Loch Ness in May 2013.

I was screaming for help and hysterical and gave him CPR

Andrew Tetsill, father

The charge alleged he overtook his son’s pedal cycle at a point where it was unsafe to do so, causing him to come off the bike.

But Sheriff Margaret Neilson acquitted Mr Tetsill at Inverness Sheriff Court yesterday.

Mr Tetsill refused to comment as he left the court with members of his family who have supported him throughout.

But in evidence, he told the court: “Craig was standing at the side of the road as I approached. I was in first gear doing about 10mph. I passed him and pulled over as far as I could.

“I checked my mirrors and heard a thump. I stopped the truck and got out and saw Craig with one leg in front of the rear wheel of his bike and the other on top.

“I was screaming for help and hysterical and gave him CPR until the ambulance arrived.”

The trial heard earlier that Craig would have survived with only a sore neck and head if he had worn a crash helmet. He sustained a severe head injury on the Tarmac of the road and died soon afterwards despite efforts by his father and other witnesses to save him.

Police collision experts blamed his father for driving too close to his son and killing him as they both travelled to their temporary accommodation from their work in the hills above Inverness, near Gorthleck.

PC Ian Mathers, of Police Scotland’s road policing unit, calculated that 21-year-old Craig was travelling at 16-20mph on his mountain bike and his father was travelling at 38mph as he passed him.

His report concluded that Craig had lost control of his bike, which had turned sharply to the right. The back wheel of the truck then ran over the front bicycle wheel, causing the rear wheel to rise and throw Craig five metres up the road.

However, defence counsel Barney Ross challenged PC Mathers’ conclusions and the method he used to calculate the figures. Mr Ross said Craig’s body was entangled in the bike but PC Mathers made no mention of this in his report.

Workmate and plant operator George Law said he saw Craig’s handlebars turn sharply 90 degrees, the bike tip up and Craig fly into the air. Mr Law said Craig twisted in the air before striking the pick-up’s rear light cluster and hitting his head on the Tarmac when he landed.

Mr Tetsill’s own expert, ex-police collision investigator Jack MacBirnie, backed up his story of what happened and contradicted the speed and other calculations of PC Mathers.