Driver accused of killing toddler Zayne Colson and fleeing scene in Adelaide pleads not guilty
An Adelaide driver accused of hitting a toddler and failing to stop after the deadly crash has told a court he did not stop at the scene because he feared for his safety.
- Zayne Colson was killed when he was hit by a car in 2017
- The court heard he was playing with siblings near the road when he was hit
- Man accused of causing death says he didn’t stop because he feared for his safety
Michael Craig Bullock, 54, who is on trial in the District Court, pleaded not guilty to aggravated driving without due care, leaving an accident scene after causing death and failing to stop to render assistance.
In her opening address, prosecutor Rachael Gray SC told the jury that almost two years ago to the day, two-year-old Zayne Colson was playing with his two older sisters outside their Dover Gardens home in Adelaide’s south-west.
“These events took place at approximately five minutes past 8:00pm in the evening and it was a Sunday — we all know that at this time of year it was still light,” she said.
It was alleged Mr Bullock struck the toddler almost in the middle of Branksome Terrace and then kept driving.
“He was dragged underneath the car for a few metres and was left lying in the road,” Ms Gray said.
Following the crash, the court heard the accused drove to his house, which was nearby, and a short time after his wife called triple-zero and they both spoke to the operator.
Ms Gray said a recording of the call would be played to the jury where the accused could be heard saying that “he’d run over a kid, he thinks he’s dead”.
“He said ‘they’re all yelling and screaming and I came home … I didn’t stop, it wasn’t safe’,” she said.
Children frequently played in front yard
Mr Bullock argued that he did not stop because he feared for his safety.
Prosecutors alleged there wasn’t anything that made it unsafe for him to stop and that the only people nearby at the time of the crash were Zayne’s sisters — aged five and seven.
Paramedics unsuccessfully tried to resuscitate Zayne but he remained unconscious and died at 9:00pm that day.
The trial will hear evidence from Zayne’s mother, his siblings as well as other people who lived on the street at the time.
The court heard his sister Makayla, 7, told police that her brother was running towards her from the other side of the road and that she yelled stop before he was hit by a blue car.
“The children … and the neighbours frequently played in the front yard and outside on the footpath,” Ms Gray said.
“They also regularly played other ball games on the footpath and on the street and they ride their bikes and their scooters along the footpath and the road.”
The court heard the crash was witnessed by two people walking along the street who said they saw a young boy in a nappy playing out the front and then heard a loud bang and the sound of a car strongly accelerating.
“As they ran closer to Zayne lying in the middle of the road they saw Zayne’s mother come out of the house, she ran to Zayne, she collected him from the road and she carried him to the footpath,” Ms Gray said.
Drugs and alcohol not a factor
The jury was told Mr Bullock was not affected by drugs or alcohol and that the real issue was whether he was driving carelessly at the time and failed to keep a proper look-out given there were children in the street.
The accused’s lawyer, Angus Redford, said his client did not cause Zayne’s death and did not drive without due care or attention.
“You might think that the law doesn’t require a driver to have eyes in the back of his head and you might think that if you’re distracted by one event while you’re driving a motor vehicle, such as a seven-year-old on the left hand side of the road, you might just miss a little tacker, a two-year-old little fella playing to the right hand side of the road,” he said.
“You need to walk a mile in his shoes and put yourself in his shoes in the moments leading up to this tragic death.”
The court heard a driver who causes a crash can be excused from stopping if they fear for their safety.
“You’re excused from these obligations if you genuinely believe on reasonable grounds that stopping the vehicle will endanger your physical safety and at the earliest opportunity police were notified and that is an issue in a contention,” Mr Redford said.
The trial before Judge Paul Cuthbertson and a jury of 12 continues.