Accused driver in fatal Fareham motorcyclist crash ‘thought car was going to catch fire’

Elaine Dorey outside court
Elaine Dorey outside court

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A DRIVER accused of running a red light and causing a fatal crash that left a motorcyclist dead has told a jury she has had ‘no doubt’ she went through on green.

Accused Elaine Dorey, 63, of Westcroft Road, Gosport, was giving evidence on the sixth day of her trial at Portsmouth Crown Court where she denies causing death by careless driving.

Julie Corben

Julie Corben

Grandmother Julie Corben, 55, died in a collision between the blue Fiat Doblo driven by care worker Dorey and Mrs Corben’s black Harley-Davidson in The Avenue, Fareham, on June 15, 2015.

Jurors heard a cyclist say Dorey told him: ‘I think I might have gone through on red’.

But giving evidence yesterday morning, Dorey said; ‘He’s got it wrong or misunderstood something that was said. I can’t say.

‘But I know that I did not say that.’

Dorey, who wept when she started to give evidence, told the jury she ‘constantly’ thought about the crash.

Asked by prosecutor Richard Tutt if she was sure she went on green, Dorey said: ‘Yes I’m sure, I’ve had no doubt in my mind ever.’

It is the prosecution case Dorey ran a red light when going from Peak Lane to Catisfield Road, crossing The Avenue, A27, where the collision happened.

But giving evidence, Dorey said: ‘As I came out of Peak Lane and into the filter lane the lights were green and they remained green.

Dorey, who told the jury she took three months off work with stress after the crash, said she thought the Fiat she was driving would burst into flames after the crash.

She said one passenger, a colleague, had been sprayed with glass from the window and was bleeding after the crash happened.

The point of impact was the front passenger side of the car, which was adapted to take a wheelchair in the back.

Dorey, a care worker, said a ‘service user’ had been in the back and all three were returning from a trip to Asda.

‘My main concern was to get people out of the car,’ she said, adding: ‘I think at first adrenaline must have kicked in. It wasn’t until I think we were all out, we were all safe, that I sat down on this grass verge, I think that’s when it all hit me.’

Dorey, who said she drove the junction every day, said: ‘I just thought the car was going to catch fire.’

The airbags had been deployed, giving off smoke.

Defence barrister Robert Bryan read a report from biomedical scientist Professor Nicholas Birch. In the report, he said Mrs Corben would have been ‘considerably impaired’ with 0.0077 microgrammes of THC, from cannabis, per litre of blood.

Two letters from Dorey’s colleagues were read out yesterday variously describing her ‘professionalism in conforming with laws of the highway’ and for being a ‘careful, conscientious and polite and methodical driver’.

(Proceeding)