A driver has gone on trial accused of causing the death of a mother-of-four who died in front of her children when a runaway van careered down a steep hill and crushed her.
Simran Ahmed, 46, was walking two of her children home from school when the Ford Transit Connect rolled backwards before ploughing into the family.
Van driver Mohammed Karani, 44, of Batley, left his vehicle “in a neutral position” with the handbrake “only partially applied” while carrying out maintenance work in a building on the notoriously steep Swindon Road in Dewsbury, a court heard.
Leeds Crown Court heard Mrs Ahmed died at the scene and her 10-year-old daughter Kiran was left with a fractured skull.
Garage owner Majeed Abdul, who was talking to customers on the forecourt of the garage facing the scene, described in a statement how he saw the van moving backwards down the hill.
He said: “I did think it was a strange manoeuvre as it was in the middle of the road. The next thing I remember was a girl screaming.”
Eyewitness Margaret Dylan, who was speaking to the garage owner, said in a statement read to the jury how she heard a vehicle making a loud sound “like a whizzing sound”.
“I saw the manager’s facial expression and then I heard screams.
“I looked around and saw an adult female and two young children on the floor.
“The van was facing to the top of the hill. I am trained in first aid and primary care and I ran across the road, stopping the traffic, where I saw a female lying on on the floor with a child stood next to her.”
Prosecutor Stephen Wood told the court: “Mrs Ahmed was crossing the road diagonally onto the left hand pavement. She was in the company of others including two children, one of them her daughter Kiran, aged 10.
“What then unfolded was seen by a number of witnesses and, you may think, must have been traumatic to view.”
The jury heard how Mrs Ahmed “sustained catastrophic internal injuries from which she simply could not recover”. Her daughter sustained a serious head injury involving fractures to her skull.
Mr Wood added: “There was no defect to the van in any of its systems which could have caused or contributed to the van setting off in the way it did –in other words, it was mechanically sound.”
The jury heard how Karani, who denies causing death by careless driving, later told police “he could not remember” if he had left the van in gear on the steep road. The trial continues.