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Lowestoft: Court told of moment car struck elderly couple in road tragedy

19:55 03 March 2014

Ipswich Crown Court

Ipswich Crown Court

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A partially-sighted man died and his wife was seriously injured after a motorist failed to see them crossing the road after a family meal at a Suffolk pub, it has been alleged.

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David Wright, 74, was walking with a white reflective stick and holding his wife Pauline’s arm when they were struck by a car driven by Samantha Pitcher, 28, in Yarmouth Road, Lowestoft, near the Foxburrow pub, Ipswich Crown Court heard yesterday.

The couple’s son, Howard, was walking ahead with his two children when he heard a short screech of tyres and a “massive crack” and turned to see his mother lying on the kerb and his father under Pitcher’s car.

Mr Wright, of Gainsborough Drive, Gunton, died from his injuries and his wife now has to use a walking frame.

Pitcher, of Maidstone Road, Lowestoft, has denied causing Mr Wright’s death by careless driving on February 18 last year.

Michael Crimp, prosecuting, said the collision took place shortly before 9pm as the couple were walking home after a meal with their son and grandchildren.

Mr Crimp alleged Pitcher, who was driving towards Lowestoft, should have seen the couple. “They represented a hazard in the road when they crossed it. That was a hazard she should have seen, could have seen and should have been in a position to deal with if she had been driving safely and carefully,” Mr Crimp said.

“Because she wasn’t paying due care and attention on the road ahead of her, she failed to see them and failed to react to them safely.” He said in the minutes leading up to the crash, Pitcher’s phone had been used to send and receive text messages but there was no evidence to suggest she was using the phone at the time of the accident.

Mrs Wright told the court she and her husband had been married for 51 years and he had gradually lost his sight due to a genetic condition.

The court head Mrs Wright had no recollection of the accident and woke up in Addenbrooke’s Hospital, Cambridge, where she underwent various operations.

Her son Howard Wright said after crossing Yarmouth Road he heard a short screech of tyres.

He ran up the road and saw Pitcher who he described as “hysterical”. He said he heard her say: “What have I done?”. She then looked up and down the road and said: “Oh my God, there’s two of them.”

The court heard following the crash Pitcher told an officer: “At the last minute I saw one person. I didn’t realise there were two. The next thing the windscreen went through.”

Police collision investigator Adam Williams told the court there was no evidence to suggest Pitcher was speeding.

Graham Oakley, an accident investigator consultant for the defence, said a left-hand curve in the road bordered by a hedgerow and lighting on just one side could have resulted in reduced visibility.

The trial continues.

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