A LORRY driver has been found guilty of causing the death of an 80-year-old man during a crash at a vintage car run while talking on his mobile phone.

Michael Black, from Crawley, was convicted of causing death by careless driving at Guildford Crown Court after the accident at the London to Brighton Veteran Car Run in 2019.

Ronald Carey, the Canadian driver of the vintage Knox Model C car, suffered fatal injuries and was pronounced dead at the scene in November 2019.

His wife Billi suffered life-threatening injuries.

The Argus: Ronald Carey (right), the Canadian driver of the vintage Knox Model C car, and his wife BilliRonald Carey (right), the Canadian driver of the vintage Knox Model C car, and his wife Billi

Black, 52, was collecting a load for the smart motorway roadworks on the M23, near Merstham, when the accident happened.

Police said shortly after making a U-turn, Black’s lorry crashed into the rear of Ronald’s vintage car, causing both the driver and the passenger to be thrown from the vehicle.

“Analysis of Black’s mobile phone subsequently showed a phone call was in progress at the time of the collision,” a police spokesman said.

“The driver suffered fatal injuries. The passenger was airlifted to hospital with suspected life-threatening injuries.

“The couple had travelled from Canada to take part in the annual London to Brighton Veteran Car Run.

“During the event, Mr Carey had mistakenly taken the slip road for the M23 as opposed to the designated route of the A23.”

Detective Constable Kelly Newton said: “Black’s defence was that he simply did not see the car in front of him until it was too late as a result of ‘looming’ and the sun being a distraction.

“Today’s verdict has reinforced that this isn’t in fact accurate, and he was distracted by the use of his mobile phone.

“I hope that the guilty verdict delivered today sends a clear message to other drivers, that losing concentration, even for a few seconds, can have devastating consequences.”

Black will be sentenced on December 8.