December 11 2013 Latest news:
Dominic Bareham, senior reporter
Wednesday, October 23, 2013
A Mercedes driver has told a court how he saw a flash of red light prior to a collision that killed two popular Lowestoft teenagers.
David Bush was driving the black Mercedes in the Norwich direction on the A143-A146 road when the car was involved in a collision with a red Vauxhall Corsa being driven by Georgia Puttock, 19.
The impact killed Kathryn Rivett, 18, a front seat passenger in the Corsa and talented sportsman Sam Jaggard, also 18, while Puttock also sustained serious injuries.
Puttock, of Broadwaters Road, Lowestoft, pleaded not guilty to two charges of causing death by careless driving at Norwich Crown Court yesterday.
Mr Bush had spent three days at Burnham Market while attending his daughter’s graduation ceremony and was driving back from Aldeburgh following a meal with his wife and mother, who was in the back seat on the driver’s side.
There was also a springer spaniel dog which died following the crash.
He described passing a familiar giant red strawberry landmark on the right hand side before the collision.
He said: “A couple of seconds after passing the strawberry there was a red flash at 45 degrees to the car.
“I can’t remember anything after that. It is hard to believe what happened. I sat in the car for a while, the airbag went off and the dog was barking and yelping.
“I looked round and realised that there had been an accident and saw the remains of the red car on the bank,” he said.
He helped to get his wife and dog out, which was barking in pain as the Corsa hit the front passenger side of the vehicle where the dog was lying in the footwell.
The occupants of the Mercedes all suffered bruising and whiplash injuries, as well as some bites from the dog while trying to calm it down.
The court heard driving conditions were good at the time of the crash at 6.30pm on July 17, with about an average amount of traffic on the road and no rain.
Jonathan Seely, prosecuting, said Puttock, who had just turned 18 at the time, had passed her test some months earlier and was travelling towards Lowestoft, when the crash happened on the section of road between Stockton and Gillingham.
He said she was not speeding and had been driving a safe distance from the car in front.
He added the motorist driving the car in front of Puttock’s Corsa reported having to move “slightly” to the left to avoid a car coming in the opposite direction of the single lane carriageway, which was overtaking a cyclist.
Conflicting eyewitness accounts suggested this car had moved between a tyre’s width or half the car into the opposite lane.
However, Mr Seely said Puttock appeared to have overreacted and lost control, veering suddenly to the left and then to the right before crashing into Mr Bush’s Mercedes in the opposite lane.
He added: “A person is to be regarded as driving without due care and attention if, and only if, the way he or she drives is below what would be expected of a competent and careful driver.
“It is not ‘falls far below,’ but simply below. The fact is that her inexperience does not provide her with a defence against these charges.”
The three in the Corsa were all friends, who had attended Kirkley High School – now East Point Academy. Mr Jaggard excelled at golf, football and cricket and had represented Suffolk’s second team, while he was also a member of Rookery Park Golf Club in Carlton Colville and had most recently been playing for Southwold Golf Club.
He also played cricket for Lowestoft and football for Kirkley and Pakefield.
The trial continues.