Court hears of horror crash

A YOUNG driver was overtaking on the wrong side of the road when her car was involved in a fatal head-on collision with a motorcyclist who was out for a Sunday afternoon ride with two friends, it has been alleged.

A YOUNG driver was overtaking on the wrong side of the road when her car was involved in a fatal head-on collision with a motorcyclist who was out for a Sunday afternoon ride with two friends, it has been alleged.

Heidi Caines had pulled out “abruptly and without any indication” to overtake cars ahead of her when she hit a motorcycle ridden by 26-year-old Aaron Bantick of Harwich Road, Colchester, Ipswich Crown Court heard.

Mr Bantick was thrown from his 1000cc Yamaha R1 bike and died from multiple injuries.

Caines, 20, of Grimwade Close, Brantham, who was on her way home from work in Ipswich at the time of the accident, has denied causing Mr Bantick's death by dangerous driving on the A137 at Tattingstone on August 8 last year.

Yesterday the court heard that Caines was badly injured in the accident and had no recollection of events leading up to it.

Steven Dyble prosecuting, told the court that the fatal collision happened at about 5.40pm on Sunday, August 8 last year. It had been a dry, sunny day and visibility was good.

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On the day in question Caines had been on her way home to Brantham from her job at Toys R Us in Ipswich while Mr Bantick and two friends were out for a Sunday afternoon ride and were heading in the direction of Ipswich.

The speed limit for the single carriageway road was 60 miles per hour and Mr Dyble accepted that Mr Bantick and his companions, Matthew Turner and Elrick Bell, had been travelling slightly in excess of that at about 70mph.

All three motorcyclists had their headlights on and as Mr Turner, who was at the head of the group, went over the brow of a hill he was confronted by the defendant's car which was in the process of overtaking two or three cars that were ahead of her, alleged Mr Dyble.

Mr Turner managed to avoid Caine's car by steering to the left but Mr Bantick, who was behind him, had nowhere to go as Mr Bell was on one side of him and a car travelling in the opposite direction on the other.

Mr Dyble claimed that Caines had pulled out to overtake abruptly and without any indication and had been entirely in the offside carriageway at the time of the accident.

He said that even though there had been a dip in the road some part of the motorcyclists would have been visible at all times.

“How is it that everyone else saw the motorcyclist and she (Caines) didn't?” said Mr Dyble.

He said that during an interview with police more than a month after the accident, Caines had accepted that it would have been potentially dangerous to overtake at the point she did because of the dip in the road.

“The prosecution say that what happened was exactly what she conceded in interview would be dangerous,” he said.

Matthew Turner, who had been riding with Mr Bantick on the afternoon of the tragedy, said that although the group may have been exceeding the speed limit, they had not been racing, competing or driving dangerously.

As he was coming up to the brow of a hill which was followed by a right-hand bend he had slowed down to 60 to 70 mph, he added.

He was preparing to brake to get round the corner safely when he saw a car with all four wheels on his side of the road coming towards him.

He said: “I didn't have time to think. I just reacted. Fortunately I was positioned on the left side of the road and I swerved the bike. That was all I had time to do.”

He added: “I glanced in my mirror and just saw a massive amount of debris, just bits flying into the air.”

Elrick Bell said that as he came over the brow of the hill he saw a car coming towards him and his friends on their side of the road.

Mr Bantick went straight into the front of the car and bits of his bike had hit Mr Bell causing him to lose control of his bike.

“I ended up sliding along the road with my bike until I came to a halt,” he said. The trial continues.

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