A collision investigator has told a court that a 22-year-old man accused of causing the collision which killed his girlfriend was travelling at a speed of at least 42mph on the 30mph stretch of road in Guilden Sutton where the tragedy occurred.
Nineteen-year-old Claudia Williams, from Hoole, died when the car Richard Bromley was driving crashed into a tree on School Lane on June 24, 2013.
Bromley, of Daniell Way in Great Boughton, denies two charges of causing death by dangerous driving and causing death by careless driving while under the influence of drink or drugs.
Collision investigator takes the stand
The trial at Chester Crown Court heard from prosecution witness PC Kevin Sweeney, a specialist collision reconstruction expert with Cheshire Constabulary, on Friday (September 25).
PC Sweeney said he visited the scene around 40 minutes after the collision and recalled that the weather ‘was fine’ and there was ‘good visibility’.
He told the jury of nine men and three women that, following his investigation, he believed that the passenger side of Bromley’s silver Vauxhall Corsa had disturbed a hedge before the car hit the tree.
“The hedge has been disturbed about 35 metres after the apex of the bend and continued for a distance of about 10 metres.
“The Corsa has intruded into the hedge and gone on to hit the tree.”
PC Sweeney said he was able to calculate the deceleration at each of the collision’s three stages: the approach to the collision; the collision itself; and post-collision.
He said that, in his opinion, the loss of speed resulting from the car’s interaction with the hedge was 5pmh, while the change in speed caused by the car hitting the tree was a loss of 28mph.
After the impact, PC Sweeney maintains that the Corsa came to rest at about 3.3 metres beyond the tree.
“This car hit the tree and will have bounced and rotated, resulting in a speed reduction of 9mph,” he said.
“It would have had to have been travelling at that speed to reach the point that it did in the road.”
Adding the three speed changes together, PC Sweeney suggested that the car would have been travelling not less than 42mph.
However, he added that he was satisfied it was not travelling at a speed of more than 60mph.
Prosecution counsel Benjamin Myers asked PC Sweeney whether there was any physical evidence to show how the crash happened.
PC Sweeney said there was not.
He also said that although he found no evidence that the car’s brakes were applied, that did not mean that the defendant did not brake.
The court heard that Miss Williams was not wearing a seat-belt, but Bromley was.
The trial continues.