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Monday, 23 April 2018
A MAN crashed his car into another driver before fleeing the scene, leaving the victim unable to walk for about two months, a court heard.
Graham Granaski, 66, from Satwell, is on trial at Oxford Crown Court accused of causing serious injury to Matthew Webb by dangerous driving, which he denies.
He has admitted straying into the wrong lane of the B481 near the former Dog Inn at Peppard on April 8 last year.
Mr Webb suffered a fractured right hip in the crash and spent five hours in surgery and three weeks in hospital.
The court heard the crash happened at about 5pm, only minutes after an altercation between Granaski, who was driving a Peugeot 206, and a van driver, Martin Fullick.
Judith Benson, prosecuting, said Granaski had pulled out of the layby near the Dog Inn to rejoin the B481 when he hit Mr Webb’s Mini almost head on.
At the time he was focused on Mr Fullick who still was in the layby by his van and was gesturing “rudely” with his hand and swearing at him.
Ms Benson said: “He swerved on to the wrong side of the road. Mr Fullick saw Mr Granaski swerve into Mr Webb’s path and hit the driver’s side just by the driver’s door.
“He was driving in a way that fell far below the standard of driving you would expect from a competent and careful driver.”
Mr Webb was trapped in his and had to be freed by the emergency services.
Mr Fullick told the court that earlier he had been driving along the B481 from Nettlebed towards Peppard Common when Granaski pulled out into road in front of him from the turning to Shepherd’s Green.
He said: “I flashed my lights to say ‘I’m here’. I had to put my brakes on. Everything in the van flew forward.”
He saw Granaski make a “masturbating” gesture followed by a “V sign” out of the window of his Peugeot before it suddenly “shot off”.
“One minute he was there and the next he’s gone,” he said.
Further along the road he spotted the Peugeot again but as soon he had passed it, Granaski pulled out immediately behind him with his car’s headlights on.
“It’s so close to the back of my car, I would say feet, two or three feet behind me,” said Mr Fullick.
Granaski pulled alongside him several times on the wrong side of the road before dropping back so he pulled into the layby near the Dog Inn as he feared there would be an accident.
Granaski followed him in and pulled up alongside but when he got out of his van the defendant pulled out of the layby at speed with his wheels spinning before turning sharply back on to the B481 in the direction from which they had come.
“He just flew straight out,” said Mr Fullick, adding that as he did so, Granaski was looking at him and mouthed “f***ing w***er” several times and made a rude gesture with his arm out of the window.
“He was probably straddling both carriageways at the same time,” he said. “There was an almighty thud. All I remember seeing was the windscreen [of the Mini] flying through the air. It was just a mess.
“I shouted, ‘you’re a f***ing idiot, you need hanging’.”
Mr Fullick said he saw Granaski walking off and started to go after him but then spotted the Mini
“I thought if that goes up in flames,” he said. “The engine had been ripped out. By the time I went over to the guy in the Mini, the chap had vanished.”
He called 999 and a male nurse from the Royal Berkshire Hospital in Reading and a colleague arrived on the scene.
Under cross examination, Mr Fullick denied being annoyed with Granaski or slowing down in a “deliberate attempt” to annoy him.
He said he had got out of his van in the layby because he believed he had a better chance of defending himself if there was a confrontation.
Mr Webb told the jury he was travelling at 30mph in the correct lane when he saw Granaski’s Peugeot coming towards him and the crash happened a few seconds later.
He was initially taken to the Royal Berks by ambulance but then moved to the John Radcliffe Hospital in Oxford where he had an operation three days after the crash. He remained there for two weeks and then spent another week back at the Reading hospital.
Mr Webb said he had still not completely recovered. A nerve in his leg was damaged during surgery and was still painful so he couldn’t run.
The court heard that the crash was so loud that Lynne Lambourne heard it from inside her home in Peppard Road.
She ran out to see what had happened and then went to call the emergency services.
She was coming back down her the driveway when she saw Granaski heading towards her house holding his arm.
She said: “His arm was sore so I said to him ‘are you okay?’ I thought he was walking towards me for help. He was muttering, it was angry muttering. He definitely looked angry, he looked cross.”
All the doors of her home were open as it was a warm day and she thought Granaski had gone into the house, so she went back in to fetch her children.
Mrs Lambourne said: “I think I ran out screaming, ‘help me, help me, I think there’s someone in my house’. He was definitely on my property with only one way to go.”
When the police arrived they looked in the house and garden but didn’t find the defendant.
Miss Benson said that Granaski waited 22 hours before calling the police and giving them his solicitor’s details.
On April 19, he went voluntarily to Abingdon police station with his solicitor but he answered “no comment” to all questions from officers.
Granaski told the court that in the day of the crash he had been on his way to pick up paperwork for the Peugeot from the Manor Farm Industrial Estate, off the B481.
He said the junction where he turned left on to the main road was “quite dangerous”.
“When you pull out you have to accelerate at a sensible speed because people come round that corner and next thing is they’re behind you,” he said.
Almost immediately after pulling out, Mr Fullick’s white van was behind him “flashing its lights like mad right on my tail”.
Granaski said: “I got my hand and I was waving, basically saying ‘get off my tail’ because it was that close. I accelerated to get away from him.”
When he had to slow down because of the 30mph speed limit, Mr Fullick came right behind him again, so he pulled over to let him go past before pulling out again.
“With that he starts playing with the brakes, hitting the brakes and slowing right down,” said Granaski.
He said he didn’t want a confrontation so he drove to the layby but there Mr Fullick’s van appeared behind him, so he moved off again.
He said he approached the end of the layby, where he stopped, looked both ways and, seeing there were no cars, and pulled across the B481 to the correct side of the road to head toward the industrial estate.
Then Mr Fullick, who was still in the layby, caught his attention by shouting and waving his arms.
“I glanced,” said Mr Granaski. “He’d got out of the van and the next thing I knew that was it – bang. That was what took my attention, he was shouting. Only for a split second I glanced and that was that.
“To be honest with you, I was in shock, I was pretty shaken up. I thought ‘this bloke in the van’s coming for me or coming across the grass verge’. In hindsight I wish I’d stayed there.”
He denied walking through Ms Lambourne’s house to leave the scene of the crash, saying he just wanted to get home and “panicked”.
The next day he went to see a friend before composing himself and calling the police.
Under cross examination he said he couldn’t remember seeing a Mini when he’d pulled out of the layby.
But he admitted that he’d “strayed” over the white line in the carriageway on to the wrong side of the road.
He denied swearing and gesturing at Mr Fullick, saying his window was up adding: “It’s not my style. I’m a lover, not a fighter.”
Martin Hawkes, defending, invited the jury to find Granaski guilty of careless driving because he had admitted taking his eyes off the road but not guilty of dangerous driving.
The trial continues.
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