A trucker involved in a fatal collision with a Canadian millionaire taking part in the world-famous London to Brighton Veteran car rally today told a jury he did not think ‘tapping’ a mobile phone while driving was illegal.

Michael Black (52 years old) was driving his tipper truck on the M23 Southbound. His truck crashed into the rear of an 1903 Knox car, driven by Ronald Carey, 80.

Mr Carey’s wife Billi, who was at his side as a passenger, survived the crash, which took place at around 10am in the morning of November 3, 2019, near Hooley, Surrey.

Black of Crawley in West Sussex denies two counts of dangerous driving causing death and one of serious injury resulting from dangerous driving causing death. 

Ron Carey, 80, had been at the wheel of a 1903 Knox Runabout 'Old Porcupine' vehicle with his wife Billi. This photograph is thought to have been taken hours before he died

Ron Carey was 80 years old and had taken the controls of a 1903 Knox Runabout Old Porcupine vehicle. He also was with Billi. It is believed that this photograph was taken several hours before Carey’s death.

Mr Carey, pictured with his wife Billi, was described as 'very well-respected and well-liked'

Pictured with Billi Carey is Mr Carey. He was described as “very well-respected, well-liked”

Police at the scene of the crash on the M23 near Hooley, Surrey, on November 3, 2019

On November 3, 2019, police arrived at the site of the M23 crash near Hooley in Surrey.

He was speaking to the jury today at Guildford Crown Court. 

On cross-examination, Mr Black said he had touched his phone screen to make a telephone call. The accident occurred as Mr Carey’s 116-year old Knox drove at approximately 20mph on the third lane M23.

Black stated that he thought tapping it was fine. [his mobile phone]. 

“I didn’t think it was worse than touching the stereo.” Although I don’t think it is wrong, I did tap the phone.

When asked if he denied that he did anything wrong, Mr Black got emotional and said: “That’s not true. Sorry, that’s not the truth.

“Obviously, someone has died and that is something I must accept for the rest my life. I cannot undo it and that is what I’ve got to deal with every day.

While I am not saying I was wrong, it is not true that my actions were not criminal. That was a mistake. However, I wasn’t expecting to encounter a vehicle going 20 mph along a road with 70 mph speed limits.

Mr and Mrs Carey were pictured riding the Knox vehicle on the Mall at the start of the London to Brighton Veteran Car Run

Mr and Mrs Carey were pictured riding the Knox vehicle on the Mall at the start of the London to Brighton Veteran Car Run

Mr Carey is understood to have taken the wrong lane and ended up on the M23 shortly before the crash on November 3, 2019

According to reports, Mr Carey may have gone the wrong way and ended up driving on the M23 shortly prior to the collision on November 3, 2019.

An earlier testimony by Mr Black to the jury stated that the sunlight glaring off his road made it hard for him see Knox, a strange looking person in front. 

He stated that he was not distracted by his mobile phone. It was distracting because the sun bounced off of the roads. While it wasn’t the main reason for the accident, it was an important part.

“Then I remembered seeing a slower-moving car ahead of me. So, I tried to brake and steer to avoid it. 

Judge Patricia Lees was informed that Mr Black has twice participated in advanced driving classes for police and worked previously in law enforcement at Her Majesty’s Revenue and Customs.

After holding an HGV licence for 15 years, Black told Guildford Crown Court that his Scania truck had only been in use for about two weeks. He added, “In a truck you drive more on your mirrors than on the windscreen. There is so much happening behind you.”

The jury had previously seen CCTV footage from Mr Black’s car, which showed the moment that the orange-colored lorry crashed into the back of the veteran’s small-top vehicle.  

Scott Brady, the prosecutor in the case, stated that Billi Carey, a Canadian oil millionaire, had taken an incorrect turn in her 1903 Knox Runabout O’Old Porcupine car and was now stuck on a busy highway.

A listing for Mr and Mrs Carey's vehicle on the London to Brighton Veteran Car Run website, which states it was registered in Arizona, has since been taken down

Since then, the listing for Mr. Carey’s vehicle at London to Brighton Veteran Car Run, which stated it was registered as Arizona, has been taken down

The jury heard Mr Brady tell them that Mr Black was in the third lanes and they were ahead. They were in the third lane, and he was immediately behind them in lane 3. Soon after 10:10, Black’s Scania and Knox collided.

“He crashed into the Knox veteran vehicle and, tragically, Mr Carey died in the accident. He seriously injured his wife. He flew her to the hospital and she was treated for multiple injuries. She survived.

Black wouldn’t have been able to avoid this incident if he was keeping an eye out. Black was not looking because he “wasn’t looking”, he said. He looked down to see them.

He said that he had been distracted by a conversation he wanted to have with a friend and wasn’t paying attention to the road. He admitted that he was making a call to a friend at the time of collision in a police interview.

He said that it was “ringing”, ringinging, and ringing. It didn’t connect, and he impacted the vehicle.

The incident almost destroyed the car, according to an investigation. The seat where Mr Carey’s wife was seated was almost completely removed from the vehicle.

Joanna Robins, a collision investigator, said that there had been some damage to both the truck and the vehicle. She also stated: “There was damage at the Scania’s front windshield. The glass had hair in it, which is thought to have been from Mr Carey.

The trial was televised from Arizona by Mr Carey’s wife. 

The trial is continuing.