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Jury deliberates on New England death crash

A MAN who says he swerved into the wrong lane to avoid a car driving "straight at him" on the New England Hwy dozed off at the wheel according to defence lawyers.

The Ipswich District Court heard the final evidence and closing submissions in the trial of Tanya Marie Smith, 41, yesterday who has pleaded not guilty to a charge of dangerous operation of a vehicle causing grievous bodily harm and death between Stanthorpe and Warwick.

The June 29, 2010 crash claimed the life of Grace Thompson.

Her husband, Bruce, testified to the court on Monday that the red Mitsubishi Magna driven by Smith, which was travelling northbound on the New England Hwy, veered completely into the southbound lane where his blue Toyota Rav4 was driving.

Mr Thompson told the court he swerved into the southbound lane to avoid the car, but they crashed when Smith's car swerved back into the same lane.

The court heard a statement Smith made to police after she was released from hospital following the crash where she claimed she "didn't recall" not being out of her lane and maintained she was driving at the 100kmph speed limit.

Police crash investigator Sergeant Daniel O'Dea said the "unique" lack of tyre and gouge marks on the road supported both Smith and Mr Thompson's claims.

Defence lawyer Frank Martin told the jury Mr Thompson had had a big day of travel on the day and hadn't had his usual afternoon nap.

He suggested that Mr Thompson may have fallen asleep for "a microsecond" and veered into Smith's lane.

Mr Thompson has denied falling asleep.

The jury has retired to deliberate.

Topics:  dangerous operation of a vehicle tanya marie smith



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