Andrew Caplin
Andrew Caplin David Nielsen

Man charged over pedestrian death 'couldn't see' court hears

UPDATE: A JURY in a trial against a man charged after Andrew Caplin was hit and killed is expected to retire to deliberate their verdict today.

Mr Caplin, 31, was walking his two dogs on Jarrah St at Raceview in April last year when he died.

Neville Reg Blacka, 48, pleaded not guilty to one count of dangerous operation of a motor vehicle causing death.

In day two of the trial on Tuesday, Ipswich District Court heard Mr Blacka told Ipswich Forensic Crash Unit officers the sun was in his eyes as he drove his Nissan Navara down the street.  

He said the crash happened when he was driving at between 20 and 30kmh about 200m from his own home.

INITIAL: MOMENTS after a neighbour saw Andrew Caplin singing and happy while walking his dogs on Jarrah St at Raceview, the 31-year-old was dead.

Mr Caplin was listening to music through his headphones so loudly that Margaret Grabbe could hear it as she sat in her garage on the other side of the street, an Ipswich District Court jury heard in the trial of the man charged over Mr Caplin's death on April 13 last year.

Neville Reg Blacka, 48, pleaded not guilty to one count of dangerous operation of a motor vehicle causing death after Mr Caplin was struck by a car and killed.

In day two of the trial yesterday, the court heard that Ms Grabbe didn't shout out to Mr Caplin, as she knew he wouldn't have heard her.

In evidence Ms Grabbe told the court she saw Mr Caplin walk past her home and moments later an "enormous bang" and "two little dogs run up the road absolutely terrified".

"I walked down and thought 'oh my god, Andrew's been hit," Ms Grabbe told the court.

She told the court she saw a vehicle drive down the street after Mr Caplin walked past her home and "he pulled the sun visor down".

Ms Grabbe told police she thought at the time "the sun has got you in the face".

The court heard Ms Grabbe had known Mr Caplin for more than 10 years and often saw him walk past her house.

Ms Grabbe told police Mr Caplin would sometimes talk to her as he walked past and he never walked on the footpath, but on the road or in the middle of the road, the court heard.

In a statement to police, she said cars would have to "swerve" around him on the road.

In recorded evidence played to the court, Mr Blacka told Ipswich Forensic Crash Unit officers the sun was in his eyes as he drove his Nissan Navara down the street.

He said the crash happened when he was driving at between 20 and 30kmh about 200m from his own home.

"The sun was in my eyes, I had my sunglasses on but I couldn't see anything driving down the street," he said.

"I hit this thing I thought was a big dog and I saw it fly up in the air. I hit the brakes and came to a stop.

"I didn't think someone or something would be in the middle of the road.

"I got out the car and I was shaking, someone was doing CPR and I was crying and upset.

"There was a person lying there.

"I was screaming help me, help me."

Mr Blacka sobbed in the docks as the evidence was played to the court.

"All I remember was it flying up in the air and I thought it was a dog until I got out and saw it was a person," he said in evidence.

A separate witness, real estate agent Valerie Fall, told the court she was meeting with a buyer on Jarrah St when the crash happened.

She said she heard the "screech of the tyres and the sound of the impact".

"I saw a shape lying in the gutter and the driver got out the vehicle and I heard his horrible shrieks and then I saw it was a pedestrian," Ms Fall said.

The court also heard Crown witness evidence from an optometrist who assessed Mr Blacka two years before the incident.

The trial continues.



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