TRAGIC DEATH: John Allridge was hit and killed by a vehicle in February 2017.
TRAGIC DEATH: John Allridge was hit and killed by a vehicle in February 2017.

Hung jury in pedestrian death trial

THE trial of a man who hit and killed an elderly pedestrian with his car has been adjourned until February 2020 after the jury was unable to reach a verdict.

The trial of Warwick man Garth Nathan Merkle, 36, who hit and killed John Edwin Alldridge 75, in 2017 started on Monday.

Mr Merkle was travelling down Wood St, Warwick when he struck Mr Alldridge with the left hand-side of his Jeep Cherokee.

The elderly man died on the side of the road a short time later.

Judge Gregory Koppenol made the decision yesterday to dismiss the jury, which had retired to consider its verdict on Wednesday and thanked them for their extensive consideration.

"I will discharge you now ladies and gentleman and I think you have given this your very best shot," he said.

"Sometimes people are not able to reach a unanimous verdict, that's life but you've done your job and you've done it well, so I want to thank you for time and effort you're put in to this case and the dedication and application with which you approached your really important responsibility."

The trial heard statements from several witnesses including a witness who told the court he swerved to avoid Mr Alldridge moments before he was struck by Mr Merkle's vehicle.

John Pichler revealed he took evasive action at the last minute to avoid hitting Mr Alldridge right before he was struck by Mr Merkle's vehicle.

"The second time I saw him he was in the roadway three or four feet away from my car and that's when I swerved," he said.

"I didn't see him on the road until I had to swerve, it was dimly lit."

On Tuesday, the jury heard evidence over whether there was adequate lighting on the road at the time.

Crown prosecutor Steven Dickson argued testing of illumination levels revealed lighting was adequate as was braking time to avoid Mr Alldridge.

Defence lawyer David Jones told the jury that his client's actions could not be categorised under the eight classifications of 'dangerous driving'.

Witnesses finished evidence on Tuesday afternoon and the jury retired the following morning.

Mr Alldridge's family was present throughout the trial and were visibly shaken during witness testimonies.

The trial has been adjourned until February 3 and is due to be heard before Judge Nathan Jarro.


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