Drivers ‘blame each other for fatal crash’

TWO teenagers are blaming each other for causing the death of their friend after their “idiotic” driving led to a fatal crash on the A14, a court has heard.

Sian Ryan, 16, of Alan Road, Ipswich, was a passenger in Perri Daniel’s silver Citroen Saxo, when it “careered out of control” off the road, colliding with a road sign at the edge of the carriageway, killing her.

Daniel, 20, of Upper Cavendish Street, Ipswich, is jointly accused with Gavin Sahota, 19, of Stewart Young Grove, Kesgrave, of causing death by dangerous driving after the accident, which happened near Nacton on August 17 last year.

The pair have both pleaded not guilty to charges of causing death by dangerous driving and causing death by careless driving.

Sahota was driving a black Audi A3, as the group travelled back from a day out in Felixstowe.

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At Ipswich Crown Court yesterday prosecutor Stephen Dyble said: “Both vehicles were travelling in convoy far too close to each other and travelling at speed, driven, the Crown say, badly by two young people frolicking and larking about. It was an accident waiting to happen and tragically it did.”

He said both defendants bore some of the responsibility for the accident. In the seconds before the accident Mr Dyble said Sahota, then 18, undertook Daniel, then 19, in an “inherently dangerous” manoeuvre, the back of his Audi clipping Daniel’s Saxo.

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“As a consequence of that impact occurring Gavin Sahota managed to keep his vehicle on the road,” he said. “Unfortunately Perri Daniel failed to do that and her vehicle careered out of control and struck a sign on the nearside of the carriageway of the A14.

“As a consequence of the Citroen hitting the sign Sian lost her life. She suffered multiple injuries and was pronounced dead at the scene.”

The court heard how the two defendants were blaming each other for causing Miss Ryan’s death.

Daniel claims Sahota hit her vehicle which caused her to lose control.

Sahota says he was concerned about Daniel’s car weaving from side to side and so drove alongside her to see what she was doing.

He was in the early stages of a relationship with Miss Ryan and was concerned for her safety.

He claims Daniel’s car was weaving, clipping his vehicle, causing her to lose control and leave the carriageway.

Mr Dyble said: “It is amazing Daniel is here today, only having received minor injuries in the accident. A perfect example of how fickle fate can be.”

Giving evidence, Martyn Sanderson, a worker at Felixstowe Docks, said he was driving along the westbound carriageway near Trimley St Martin, in the inside lane behind three lorries when he first noticed Daniel’s Citroen Saxo driving alongside him at between 70 and 80mph.

He said he noticed the two female passengers “laughing, chatting and joking.”

Moments later Mr Sanderson described seeing a black Audi “extremely fast” up behind the Citroen at around 90 mph, being driven “idiotically” and slamming on the brakes, causing the front of the Audi to dip and the back to rise up.

He said: “I did think to myself ‘prat’. You could see traffic was slowing down, it was stupid.”

Around 15 minutes later Mr Sanderson came across the crash site, seeing the Citroen had collided with the sign.

Stopping to help, he told the court he saw the driver of the car “extremely upset and crying.” He also recalled seeing an Asian male in his 20s who seemed “really concerned.”

Another witness, Tracey Britton, travelling in the same carriageway as Daniel and Sahota told the court she became concerned when she noticed a silver Citroen Saxo “zig-zagging” in the road behind her car.

She said the two girls in the car appeared to be “singing and dancing, jigging about in the car” with the driver moving her steering wheel from side to side, causing the weaving motion.

Miss Britton said she was concerned for her own safety and was trying to pull out of the fast lane into the inside lane to let the car pass.

As she did, near to the Levington junction, Miss Britton noticed a black Audi “very close to the back of the Saxo,” so close another car could not have been “picked up and put” between them.

Giving evidence, Lee Ingram said he was travelling on the opposite side of the A14 and witnessed the collision.

The 25-year-old said he saw the black Audi pull across from the inside lane into the outside lane where the Saxo was travelling.

“The first thing I thought was ‘you prat’. I am pretty sure they touched – I am not 100% sure,” he said. “As the Audi drove across the road the Saxo came away from the Audi towards the central reservation and in my opinion I thought it was going to hit the crash barrier, as she steered away she lost control of the car. It snaked sideways towards the sign.”

The trial continues today.

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