Watch the moment Derbyshire van driver pulled “dangerous” “brake check” stunt on lorry driver
An “irritated” Derbyshire van driver who slammed his brakes on at high speed - causing a lorry behind him to “fear for his own safety” - has lost his licence.
Maximus Watson, 30, was seen performing the dangerous “brake check” manoeuvre in his blue VW Caddy on the A38 near Ripley.
Dashcam footage from the following lorry seen during Watson’s Chesterfield Magistrates Court trial showed Watson swooping back into the left lane after zooming past the lorry.
In the footage, as the dodgy driver pulls “sharply” back in his brake lights can be seen glowing red as the lorry gets dangerously close while braking hard to avoid a collision.
While another HGV driver following behind the two vehicles narrowly avoided piling into them as Watson slammed on his anchors.
Prosecutor Teresa Simms told the court Watson claimed he had braked “to avoid hitting an animal”.
However she added: “The Crown says there was no animal and the defendant had no reason to apply his brakes - he left no space for the lorry behind to be able to stop.”
District Judge Andrew Davison, who fined Watson over £1,600, told him the dangerous “deliberate” manoeuvre on November 3, 2020 could have caused a “serious accident”.
Barry Marsh - the lorry driver forced by Watson to jump on his brakes - told the court how as mad motorist Watson slowed rapidly in front a collision alarm sounded.
Mr Marsh had just finished overtaking a Wilko lorry when Watson steamed in front of him and feared the haulier behind him would be oblivious to what was happening.
He said: “My concern was for the truck I had just overtaken - he wouldn’t be expecting to see me brake because the road in front was clear.
“I could see smoke coming from his trailer brakes - such was the force of having to take evasive action.”
Mr Marsh told the court he assessed Watson’s driving as a “brake check”.
He said: “Sometimes, when people are annoyed by other drivers they will dab their brakes to make you slow down or express their intention of trying to get you to alter your driving speed.”
During his evidence HGV driver Mr Marsh said his own driving while overtaking the Wilko lorry in the lead-up to the incident had been done “safely and in good time”.
But this was disputed during Watson’s account - leading Judge Davison to conclude the defendant was not braking for an animal on the carriageway but as a deliberate “brake check”.
He told the court: “The defendant said he did apply his brakes but he did so not out of irritation or anger at Mr Marsh’s driving but because he believed he saw something - possibly a dog or a badger at the side of the carriageway.”
However the judge said he was satisfied there was no animal “or anything else” and he did not accept Mr Watson's evidence as “truthful”.
He said: “I do not think this animal existed - it was in fact a deliberate act to cause Mr Marsh to fear for his own safety.
“Thankfully the other heavy goods vehicle was able to stop in good time and there was no collision but there was potential for there to be a serious accident.”
Watson, of West End, Alfreton, was found guilty of dangerous driving.
He was banned from driving for 12 months, fined £925, made to pay £620 court costs and a £92 victim surcharge.