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Suffolk man accused of careless driving in fatal crash tells court he did not see any pedestrian

PUBLISHED: 19:53 30 May 2018 | UPDATED: 12:13 31 May 2018

Ipswich Crown Court Picture: ARCHANT

Ipswich Crown Court Picture: ARCHANT

A Suffolk man accused of careless driving in relation to a fatal collision has claimed he thought the knock he felt in his car was a speed bump.

Andrew Saunders, 50, of Swan Close, Halesworth, told Ipswich Crown Court today that he did not see any pedestrians in Bridge Street, Bungay, around the time of the collision which killed Shane Lay, 42, from Broome,

Saunders has denied careless driving in relation to the incident, early on Friday, May 13, 2016.

Mr Lay had been drinking on the night leading up to the fatal collision and left the house of his friend, Hayley Wooland, in Upper Olland Street to walk home with his dog Max at around 12.50am.

He was later found lying “unconscious but breathing” in the middle of Bridge Street.

Two witnesses, who lived in the street, told the court they heard a “screech and a thud” followed by the sound of a dog barking.

Both went into the street to find the victim laying with one arm outstretched holding his dog by a long lead.

The two witnesses said they though the vehicle sounded like it was going “pretty fast” down the road. Police said the road had a 20mph speed limit since 2003.

Crash investigators confirmed debris at the scene belonged to a Nissan Qashqai. They later found “cleaning marks” and blood on the front of Saunders’ car. Following a reconstruction, investigators concluded speed was an issue.

Saunders was seen that morning examining the underside of the car’s front. He also bought a car wash from a filling station.

Saunders said he had been going to work on the morning of the crash. He told police he wasn’t aware of the speed limit in Bridge Street, but denied travelling at excessive speed.

He said he did not see any pedestrians but did see a dog and eased off the throttle before feeling a bump he thought to be a speed bump. Saunders said he looked in his rear view mirror to check the dog was OK.

He said he later ran into a large rabbit, which was why he checked under his vehicle, and he cleaned his car to remove bird droppings.

When he later learned of the crash in the media, he said he thought it could have been connected but chose not to contact police, ruling himself out because the description was of a silver – rather than grey - Qashqai vehicle.

The jury was sent out yesterday afternoon and will continue their deliberations today.

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