Dunkley managers deny steering problem

Dunkley’s Dairy managers told a court yesterday that they could not remember an employee accused of causing death by careless driving complain about a steering problem with his truck.

Kyle Dailey, sales manager at the company, said Clinton Smith had told him about a problem with the door and the reverse gear the day before the crash in which 21-year-old model Sophie Fraser-Smith lost her life.

He added: “I don’t ever remember him telling me about the steering or having any kind of conversation about that.”

The evidence came after Sergeant Preston Gill, of the Bermuda Police Service, said Mr Smith told him after the crash on July 18 that he had informed his employer about a steering problem with the truck.

Mr Smith denies causing the death by careless driving of Ms Fraser-Smith on July 18 last year.

Mr Dailey told the Supreme Court that Mr Smith came to see him on July 17 last year.

He said: “He came to my desk following the completion of his route. Clinton asked me how to request maintenance to be done on his truck.

“I told him I would show him where our vehicle-repair request forms are located.”

Mr Dailey said he asked Mr Smith what was wrong with the truck while they walked.

“He said that occasionally the driver’s side door would leak when it was raining and that when he put the truck into reverse, the engine made a revving sound.”

Mr Dailey said he showed Mr Smith the form and the tray where he should leave it once completed.

He agreed with defence lawyer Elizabeth Christopher that this was the first time that he had spoken to Mr Smith about the form.

Mr Dailey also agreed that drivers “sometimes” told him about problems verbally and that he would try to help.

He said he would direct them to fill out the forms, which also told drivers to contact the fleet manager if they thought there was a serious problem.

Ms Christopher, however, showed him a different vehicle-repair request form, dated June 1, which detailed problems with the front left loading door.

The form had the names of Mr Dailey and Mr Smith written on it, but it was not signed by Mr Smith.

Mr Dailey agreed that he had filled out the form and said it “appeared” that he had not directed Mr Smith to the form at that point.

Ms Christopher also suggested that Mr Smith told him two weeks after starting work at the company that the steering was loose on his truck, and repeated his concerns two weeks later.

Mr Dailey said: “I don’t remember that.”

He also denied he had a vested interest in avoiding liability for the company because he was married to a member of the Dunkley family.

Paul Spring, beverage brand manager, denied a suggestion by Ms Christopher that the service department had told him about a problem with the truck’s steering.

Mr Spring agreed that it was important to him to keep trucks on the road, but said a spare one was available if there was a serious problem with a vehicle.

He also told the court that Mr Smith called him about 3.20pm on the day of the accident.

Mr Spring added: “He said, ‘Spring, I messed up. I must’ve blacked out. I hit a girl on a bike’.”

He added that Mr Smith also told him that he hit a wall and that the girl was in “serious bad shape”.

Mr Spring said he told Mr Smith that he could not get to the scene, but would contact general manager Stephen Dunkley.

He added he spoke again to Mr Smith about 3.30pm for an update and they had a conversation about the girl’s condition.

Mr Spring denied suggestions by Ms Christopher that Mr Smith always called Mr Spring “Paul” and that his recollection of Mr Smith’s statement after the accident was inaccurate.

The trial continues.

It is The Royal Gazette’s policy not to allow comments on stories regarding court cases. As we are legally liable for any slanderous or defamatory comments made on our website, this move is for our protection as well as that of our readers.

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