Saturday, 21 October 2017

Mother denies careless driving in death crash

A WOMAN driver caused the death of a motorcyclist after she crashed into him, a court heard.

A WOMAN driver caused the death of a motorcyclist after she crashed into him, a court heard.

Anne Green is alleged to have veered from her lane on the A4074 near Benson when she collided with John Maher’s Honda motorcycle, throwing him 40 yards.

Mr Maher, 52, was pronounced dead at the scene after the accident on February 19 last year.

Green, 38, of Manor Road, Goring, denied causing death by careless driving at the start of her trial at Oxford Crown Court on Wednesday.

Rachel Drake, prosecuting, said Green was driving “without due care and attention”, leading to the death of Mr Maher.

The court head she had been driving her blue Peugeot 206 southbound towards Goring with her two young children at about 10.20am.

Eyewitnesses said she “span” out of her lane and crashed into Mr Maher, who was travelling in the opposite direction.

In a statement read out in court, Richard Howard said Mr Maher had overtaken him but was travelling safely and close to the 50mph speed limit.

Mr Howard said the weather and road conditions were normal and that he saw a blue car “come out of nowhere”. It collided with the motorcycle at a 45 degree angle, hitting the machine with the front passenger side. Mr Howard said: “The motorcyclist didn’t have time to react. The motorcycle was thrown up into the car with considerable force and I didn’t see him land. I parked my car on the grass verge, exited the vehicle and walked towards him. I found him face down in a ditch on the near side about 40 yards from the point of impact.”

Mr Howard said Mr Maher had been travelling on his side of the road and not excessively fast.

Oliver Henning, from Woodcote, was driving north when he saw Green’s car spin backwards into a ditch on his side of the road. He said he had been driving on the road for eight years and never noticed any problems with its condition.

Pc Peter Billingham, who was called to the scene, said he noticed part of the road on which Green had been travelling was coated in “a considerable amount of mud”. He believed it had come from heavy goods vehicles exiting the Thames Water sewage treatment works in Benson Lane.

Pc Billingham said: “This area of the road looked quite damp on our first arrival. This would obviously affect the grip of tyres passing on this section of the road.”

Green gave a negative breath test at the scene and was taken to the John Radcliffe Hospital with her children as a precaution and released later that day.

In an interview with police that was read out in court, she said she had been to a function with her husband Mark the previous night but had only drank a glass of champagne.

She said she was driving to pick up her children from her mother’s house in Wallingford, where they had stayed overnight, and had not been distracted in any way and had been driving within the speed limit.

She was an experienced driver of 19 years and had driven the route about 20 times. Green, known to friends as “Rosie”, said: “I just remember the car spinning and a big bang and then finding ourselves on the opposite side of the road with the car in a ditch.

“All I can remember is that the steering wheel was moving but I can’t remember in what sequence that happened — whether that was before or after the collision.”

Later, she added that “something major” had happened to the car but she did not know what it was. Green said: “I first realised something wasn’t right when I was trying to control the steering. It was suddenly violently uncontrollable. Something external happened to the car. It wasn’t anything that happened internally that caused it. It wasn’t me or the children or anything like that.”

Green said she and her children got out of the car safely and she looked for the motorcylist after realising she must have hit someone. By that time, other drivers had pulled over and called the emergency services.

Terry Anderson, a collision investigator called to the scene, said there had been no pre-existing faults in either vehicle that could have caused the crash.

He noticed there was mud on the road and believed Mrs Green had lost control of her car after driving through it.

But he said there was no evidence of other cars having skidded there, adding: “Hundreds of vehicles must have passed through the scene.

“The Peugeot driver must have done something totally different to what everyone else did coming through that section of road. Certainly with the vehicle going in a straight line it won’t just spin out of control with no other external forces.”

Tom Allen, defending, said conditions may have changed in the time it took Mr Anderson to arrive and suggested emergency vehicles and other drivers who stopped following the accident could have destroyed other skid marks.

He said: “There was undoubtedly a change in the conditions of the road between the time of the accident and your arrival.”

The trial continues.

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