Death crash: Teenager denies driving charge

TWO teenagers were seen racing their cars at “excessive” speed shortly before an accident in which a 61-year-old Suffolk woman died as she walked home from work, it has been alleged.

Jane Hunt

TWO teenagers were seen racing their cars at “excessive” speed shortly before an accident in which a 61-year-old Suffolk woman died as she walked home from work, it has been alleged.

Carol Myhill was pushing her bicycle along the pavement in Victoria Road, Aldeburgh, after finishing her shift at a local hotel when she was struck by the rear of a car driven by 18-year-old James Sadler after he lost control of his car on a bend, Ipswich Crown Court was told.

Mrs Myhill was knocked to the ground and suffered a fractured skull and brain injuries and died despite the efforts of a group of RNLI members who had been practising first aid at a meeting nearby and rushed to her aid.

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Charles Kellett, prosecuting, alleged that shortly before the fatal collision Sadler and his friend Jake Strowger, who was also 18, had been driving “competitively” during a late-night trip from Leiston to Aldeburgh to get a take-away meal and had reached speeds of 70mph.

He said that although there hadn't been an official “Le Mans” style race start, as soon as Strowger had seen Sadler's headlamps in his rear view mirror as they left Leiston he had put his foot down and hadn't attempted to slow down.

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Mr Kellett said that a friend who had pulled in to wait for Strowger and Sadler near the Parrot and Punchbowl pub near the Thorpeness turn-off had described them “shooting” past her.

Meanwhile, as they reached the outskirts of Aldeburgh another friend was so concerned at their speed she flashed her headlights at them and shouted “stop” even though she knew they couldn't hear her.

A local resident who was getting ready to go to bed heard the sound of screeching tyres as the cars did circuits of a roundabout outside his home and thought his double glazed windows must have been open because the noise was so loud.

Mr Kellet said that after leaving the roundabout Strowger had accelerated away into Victoria Road followed by Sadler and another witness had put their speed at getting up to 50mph.

“Here are all the hallmarks of two young men driving competitively,” he added.

He said that in the area of a pedestrian crossing Sadler had overtaken Strowger's car. “There is no suggestion that Strowger slowed down to allow that to happen,” said Mr Kellett.

Shortly afterwards Sadler, of Andrew Close, Leiston, was confronted by a bend in the road near a church and lost control of his car. “He was going far too fast into the bend,” said Mr Kellett.

Sadler had desperately tried to regain control but his car had spun round 180 degrees before travelling backwards on the wrong side of the road and striking Mrs Myhill as she walked along the pavement.

Strowger, of Theberton, near Leiston, has denied causing Mrs Myhill's death by dangerous driving on February 25.

Mr Kellet claimed that if both vehicles had approached the roundabout and gone into Victoria Road at 30mph the corner near the church would not have presented any problem to them.

He said that after his arrest Strowger denied speeding or doing circuits of the roundabout near Victoria Road.

The trial continues today (Thurs).

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