Van driver pleads guilty to causing fatal crash with cyclist in Kenilworth

Jiale Cen pleaded guilty to death by careless driving
Jiale Cen pleaded guilty to death by careless driving

A keen cyclist died in hospital two weeks after suffering severe head injuries when he was unable to stop after a van turned in front of him at traffic lights in Kenilworth.

And van driver Jiale Cen pleaded guilty at Warwickshire Magistrates’ Court to causing 56-year-old Alan Smith’s death in June last year by careless driving.

But Cen, 36, of Kingswood Close, Lapworth, near Solihull, was given a 12-month community order with 150 hours of unpaid work, and was banned from driving for 12 months.

The magistrates, who decided the case was at the bottom of the scale of seriousness for such an offence, also ordered him to pay £185 costs and an £85 surcharge.

Prosecutor John Cardiff said the tragic collision took place at around 6.20 on the evening of Wednesday June 14 last year at a traffic light-controlled crossroads in Kenilworth.

The two men were travelling in opposite directions, with Mr Smith, a keen cyclist who was out on a 30-mile round trip from his home in Meriden, cycling fast down High Street towards the lights.

Meanwhile Cen was driving a silver VW Transporter van towards the lights along New Street, intending to make a right turn at the crossroads into Fieldgate Lane.

The lights for both men were on green, and Cen pulled across into the path of Mr Smith.

The cyclist, who it was said was not wearing a helmet, braked hard, and went over the handlebars of his bike into the side of the van.

The ambulance service attended very quickly following a 999 call as Mr Smith lay unconscious in the middle of the road, and he was rushed to University Hospital in Coventry.

He had suffered severe head and facial injuries, and despite the efforts of doctors and staff at the hospital, he died two weeks later on June 28.

Before sentencing Cen, the chairman of the magistrates Mr Freeman said: “We would like to thank all of those family members who have given victim impact statements.

“We know how traumatic it must have been for you as a family and friends of Mr Smith to have lost him. It is the most traumatic case this bench has dealt with.

“We have been gladdened somewhat to hear the family’s views on how we deal with this case.

“It would have been very easy to make someone else make the decision we have got to make, in the crown court. However, we have kept it in the magistrates’ court.”

He then told Cen: “By pleading guilty, we are giving you a discount. Because you pleaded guilty at the first opportunity, we have gone from a high community penalty to a medium one.”