Driver convicted of killing friend in A12 crash

Charlotte Oakes

Charlotte Oakes died in the crash on the A12 at Frostenden - Credit: Suffolk Constabulary

A 24-year-old Suffolk woman whose car was involved in a head-on crash on the A12 after it veered on to the wrong side of the road has been convicted of killing her friend by careless driving. 

Charlotte Oakes, 22, from Westleton, who was a front seat passenger in her friend Chelcie Lavery’s Peugeot, suffered “catastrophic” injuries in the collision in October 2018 and died at the scene, Ipswich Crown Court heard. 

Following the crash, which happened on the A12 at Frostenden, near the junction with Gypsy Lane, the Peugeot ended up in a field 10m away from the road. 

Lavery, of High Street, Leiston, denied causing Miss Oakes’ death by careless driving but was convicted by a jury after a three-day trial. 

Sentencing was adjourned to July 5, to allow a pre-sentence report to be prepared. 

Following the verdict, Charlotte's family said in a statement released by Suffolk police: "Charlotte was a much-loved member of the local community in which she had lived and worked her entire life. She was generous, hard-working and always fun to be around.

"As a family we miss her stories and her laughter. We feel her loss every day and in everything we do.”

Marc Brown, prosecuting, said that on the afternoon of the collision Lavery had picked up her “good friend” Miss Oakes and they had visited McDonald’s in Lowestoft. 

Most Read

They had been on their way to the Eels Foot Inn, travelling southbound along the A12, when for some reason the Peugeot travelled into the oncoming lane as it came out of a bend. It collided with an Isuzu D-max pick-up truck. 

Mr Brown said that a thorough investigation was carried out into the collision and no mechanical defect was found on the Peugeot. There were also no environmental factors which could have caused it. 

He said there was no obvious reason for the collision and the investigator concluded that perhaps due to inexperience, the collision had been caused by a loss of control as the Peugeot went round a bend, or inappropriate speed. 

“If there was a loss of control or inappropriate steering input that caused the vehicle to be in the wrong carriageway, it would amount to careless driving,” said Mr Brown. 

Lavery suffered extensive injuries in the collision and later told police she had no recollection of the crash. 

She said she had been driving for a couple of years and had owned the Peugeot for three or four months. 

She said the last thing she recalled before the collision was the car pulling to the left and trying to correct it. 

She thought she had been travelling at between 40-50mph. 

Become a Supporter

This newspaper has been a central part of community life for many years. Our industry faces testing times, which is why we're asking for your support. Every contribution will help us continue to produce local journalism that makes a measurable difference to our community.

Become a Supporter