Death crash driver swerved to avoid schoolgirl court hears

The Stevenage driver accused of killing schoolgirl Yesmine Moumen tried to swerve to avoid her and her mother as they crossed a main road, a jury has been told.

Kevin Ruder, 45, of Keller Close, denies causing the death of the 10-year-old by careless driving on 21 December 2010.

The prosecution claim Ruder was driving too fast, although he was not speeding and had a green light at the pedestrian crossing on Monkswood Way.

The court was told that Yesmine and her mother Yvonne, 40, had started to cross “almost certainly” on a red light about 4pm. One witness spoke of them appearing to hesitate before they began crossing.

It’s alleged that Ruder, in his white E250 Mercedes, was in the second lane as he came off Six Hills Way roundabout. It’s claimed that when he realised that traffic in that lane was moving slowly, he went into the nearside lane, where Mrs Moumen and her daughter were crossing. Yesmine suffered fatal injuries.

The jury at Cambridge Crown Court heard that when arrested, Ruder told police the car in front of him indicated to go into the right hand filter for the Asda supermarket but there was a queue in that lane.

He said there was nothing else in the middle lane of the three-lane carriageway, he checked his side mirrors and moved into the nearside lane and then slowly accelerated as the lights ahead were green.

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However, he is said to have told police that “it all happened in a very short space of time”. He said that as he got level with the first set of lights there were two pedestrians starting to go into the road to cross.

Ruder told police he took the decision to swerve into the right hand lane, thinking he would avoid them. He didn’t apply his brakes at that point.

His continued: “I went into the right hand lane and it was only when I felt the impact on the left side of the car that I realised what had happened.”

He then braked and stopped, the jury was told.

Ruder put his speed at 35mph. The impact was on the front nearside corner of the Mercedes.

The prosecution alleges that Ruder was driving too fast for the circumstances and his driving fell below the expected standard bearing in mind the local conditions and his local knowledge.

Prosecutor Robin Miric cited the Highway Code where it states that if there’s a risk, especially where young children might step unexpectedly into the road, a motorist should drive at a speed suitable for the conditions, with young children in mind.

The trial continues.