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Car was coming straight at us, crash jury hears

FATAL CRASH: Tanya Marie Smith has pleaded not guilty to dangerously driving causing a crash that killed Grace Thompson in 2010.
FATAL CRASH: Tanya Marie Smith has pleaded not guilty to dangerously driving causing a crash that killed Grace Thompson in 2010. File

"WHAT would you do if you there was a car driving straight at you?"

That is the question Crown prosecutor Dzenita Balic has asked an Ipswich jury regarding a horrific 2010 crash between Stanthorpe and Warwick which killed an elderly woman.

Tanya Marie Smith, 41, has pleaded not guilty at the Ipswich District Court to dangerous operation of a motor vehicle causing death and grievous bodily harm.

Ms Balic alleged after 3pm on June 29, 2010 Stanthorpe couple Bruce and Grace Thompson were driving home along the New England Hwy from Toowoomba after getting lunch with their daughter in Warwick.

The court heard they came over a rise and saw a maroon Mitsubishi Magna coming towards them, and suddenly merged into their lane.

Mr Thompson told the court the car, which was being driven by Smith, was completely in their lane. He said he didn't know what to do and decided to swerve into the right lane hoping the car would go past him.

Instead he said the car merged back on to the right side of the road smashing into the Thompson's car.

 

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Everyone in the cars were injured with one of Smith's two passengers suffering a broken jaw and a bowel injury. Mrs Thompson, who was conscious and speaking after the accident, was taken to hospital where she died of her injuries that day.

Mr Thompson said he and his wife were stunned when the car merged into their lane.

"We saw this car coming towards us, and next thing it's on the wrong side of the road, coming straight at us," he said.

"I didn't know what to do at the time. There was long grass off to the left of the road and I didn't know what the ground was like under that, so at the last moment I thought by driving on the wrong side of the road it would have gone straight past us.

"But it didn't. It came back into us."

He said he swerved into the other lane when Smith's car was around "50 yards" from him and it was only on the wrong side of the road for "a matter of seconds."

While cross-examining Stanthorpe police officer Snr Const Michael Hauff, Mr Martin said that stretch of road was "notorious" for fatal accidents, and suggested it could have been part of the reason for the crash.

The trial is continuing.

Topics:  dangerous operation of a motor vehicle, ipswich district court, tanya marie smith



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