AN emotional minibus driver made a panic-stricken 999 call desperate to know if he had hit someone on a busy Southampton dual carriageway, a court heard.

Steven Petterson frantically called emergency services less than 30 minutes after 48-year-old cyclist David Irving fell from his bike on Mountbatten Way.

And yesterday that call for help was played to jurors at Southampton Crown Court.

Petterson, 38, of Waterhouse Lane, Southampton, denies causing death by careless driving.

Jurors were played a recording of the conversation between Petterson and the operator on the morning of the crash on December 17.

He called from his girlfriend’s home in West End, 20 minutes after hearing a bang while driving his Ford Transit minibus and asking his father who lives nearby to check if there were any obstacles in the road.

Breathing heavily and at times sounding like he was sobbing, he told the operator: “I thought it was a post or something that I hit and I was a bit worried and rang my dad to check. He said there’s lights and police – I think I’ve hit someone.”

He continued: “I was coming into town, there was the bridge, I had the sunshine in my eyes and I thought it was a post by the side of the road.

“I just want to know if everybody’s OK.”

The operator took his details before promising a colleague would call him back.

Mr Irving, from Wimborne in Dorset, who was riding his Giant bike to work and wearing an orange jersey, died at the roadside soon afterwards from severe head and body injuries.

The jury heard a second phone call where the operator told Petterson to stay where he was and to refrain from getting into his vehicle.

Petterson asked: “Is the person OK?”

He could be heard sighing deeply and panicking when told police were treating it as a “serious road traffic accident”.

A copy of a statement made by Petterson after he was arrested was also read out to the court.

He said he had seen something red in his mirror after hearing the bang. He told them he immediately pulled into a layby– but saw nothing in the carriageway behind him and presumed it was a bus stop.

He said the sun was low in the sky and he was using a visor and wearing prescription glasses while driving within the speed limit with enough space between other vehicles.