THE youth worker accused of killing a cyclist during rush hour on a major commuter road into Southampton told jurors he simply did not see the bike rider.
Steven Petterson claimed he was blinded by the sun and did not know he had hit David Irving in Mountbatten Road, Southampton, even after the wing mirror of his minibus had knocked the cyclist off his bike.
"I was really blinded by the sun,” he told Southampton Crown Court.
“Then I heard a bang. The wing mirror came in. There was a flash of red and in my mind I envisaged it was a bus sign. It was the first thing that came into my head, it was a red post."
Petterson said he didn't stop on the carriageway because he didn't want anyone running into the back of him and he pulled into the first lay-by where he got out of the minibus to see what it was.
He added: "I looked back up the road but couldn't see anything. I got back into the vehicle and drove off.”
But he stopped again and called his father to investigate. His father later told him ambulances were there and he rang the police.
"I didn't know for certain it was a person. When I was told I was being arrested for causing someone's death, I broke down in tears. That's when it really hit me."
The prosecution claims Petterson knocked Mr Irving off his bike and the IT consultant was then run over by a Mercedes moments later .
Jurors have heard Mr Irving had driven from to Totton from his home in Wimborne, Dorset, before cycling into the city centre on December 17, 2012.
Petterson, a father of seven with triplets, told the city crown court he had driven along the dual carriageway on and off for 20 years, and he was taking his six-year-old daughter to school in West End.
He said he kept in the inside lane, driving between 30-40mph. As it was sunny, he wore sunglasses and had the sun visor down.
"I wasn't doing anything in the vehicle to distract me. I was concentrating. I could just see the car in front with its lights on.”
Petterson, 38, of Waterhouse Lane, Southampton, denies causing death by careless driving.
"I didn't think I was driving carelessly," he said. "I was driving like I normally drive. If I had seen someone on a bike, I would have made sure I would have driven around them."
The trial continues.