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Collision accused 'got pedals mixed up'

By Matthew Cooper

A former magistrate ploughed into a shop front, leaving several people seriously injured, after mistaking his car's accelerator for the brake pedal, a court has heard.

Alan Marks, who appeared in court in a wheelchair, left a shopper with a traumatic brain injury and another victim with multiple fractures as he accelerated "hard and fast" into a pedestrianised street, Birmingham Crown Court was told.

Marks, of Shottery, Stratford-upon-Avon, Warwickshire, claims the crash was caused by a mechanical defect and has pleaded not guilty to dangerous driving.

The Crown alleges the 65-year-old panicked and pressed the wrong pedal as his Volkswagen Touran careered into a coffee shop in Henley Street on April 23, 2012.

Opening the case against Marks, prosecutor Stefan Kolodynski said CCTV footage of the accident showed no brake lights were illuminated prior to the "massive" frontal impact.

Mr Kolodynski told the jury: "What happened that day was an object lesson in what happens when you start to drive a car without fully checking that you can fully control it in all situations."

"Thankfully nobody was killed, but unfortunately several people were seriously injured.

"The Crown say the most likely cause is this – Mr Marks put his foot on the accelerator, panicked and didn't control the car properly.

"He pressed harder and harder on the accelerator, probably thinking it was the brake.

"This accident, the Crown say, was caused by Mr Marks being slightly complacent that day about his control of the vehicle."

During the prosecution's opening statement, it emerged that the needle of the Touran's speedometer was found stuck at about 60mph after the crash.

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