Fatal crash accused misses court ‘due to coronavirus’

Alfredo Ciociola is accused of causing the deaths of five people when the minibus he was driving hit a car.

A man accused of killing five people in a road crash was not at court after being affected by the coronavirus outbreak.

Alfredo Ciociola is accused of causing the smash on the A96 near Keith, Aberdeenshire, on July 26, 2018.

The 47-year-old, of Sicily in Italy, was due to appear at at the High Court in Glasgow on Friday, but his lawyer said his travel plans had been affected by the virus.

A not guilty plea was entered on his behalf to the charge of causing deaths and serious injury by dangerous driving.

Ciociola is said to have crashed a Fiat minibus into a 4×4 after falling asleep at the wheel.

Fellow Italians Frances Saliba, 63, and four year-old Lorenzo Ciociola – passengers in his vehicle – died.

Edward Reid, 63, of Macduff, Audrey Appleby, 70, and Evalyn Elrick, 69, both of Aberchirder, all Aberdeenshire, were in the other car and also died.

Four other people were hurt.

A trial will take place in August.