Woman denies looking at mobile phone shortly before fatal crash on Northamptonshire road

A fatal crash took place on the A510 near Finedon
A fatal crash took place on the A510 near Finedon

A woman accused of causing a fatal head-on car crash that killed a 56-year-old carer has denied looking at the sat nav programme on her mobile phone shortly before the collision.

Michelle Frewin, aged 28, was driving her Peugeot 206 on the A510 Thrapston Road, Finedon, on December 5, 2014 when her vehicle crossed the white line in the middle of the road and collided with a Suzuki car, travelling in the opposite direction, being driven by Jenny Tilley.

Miss Tilley, a carer from Wellingborough, died at the scene of the crash after her car was pushed into a ditch.

Frewin, of Monkston Park, Milton Keynes, has pleaded not guilty to causing death by careless or inconsiderate driving and is currently on trial at Northampton Crown Court.

Giving evidence yesterday (Friday), Frewin said her vehicle had started “sliding” and juddering” shortly before the crash.

She said: “I was just driving as normal and I did not feel anything different. It just happened in an instant.

“I felt the car sliding to the left and juddering like mad. I held my hands on the steering wheel to keep the car as steady as I could.

“I was terrified about what was happening and I just kept my hands on the steering wheel.”

Frewin said she felt her car hit the nearside kerb and it then “bounced” to the right towards the opposite carriageway.

The court heard that Frewin had been returning from a job at Rockingham Speedway and was “unfamiliar” with the road.

Frewin said she had been using the audible sat nav instructions on her phone, which was placed on the passenger seat.

James Thomas, prosecuting, asked Frewin if she had looked at the sat nav on the mobile phone.

Frewin said: “I know 100 per cent I was not distracted by anything inside or outside of the vehicle.

“I had no reason to check the sat nav as I had not been told any instructions.”

Frewin said she had also turned the mobile phone face down so would not have been able to see the screen.

On Thursday, the jury heard the crash had happened on a straight length of road, 83 metres after a gentle left hand bend.

Mr Thomas said analysis of the road surface had revealed there were no potential skid hazards such as oil, ice or mud and no defects were found in either of the vehicles.

Mr Thomas said: “The prosecution say there were no environmental or vehicle failures identified that caused the crash. It could only be due to driver error that caused her to lose control of her vehicle and move across the solid white line in the middle of the road, resulting in the collision.

“It may be because she was distracted and there was an element of panic and oversteering caused her to lose control, something similar to falling asleep.

“This is a case of driver error and there is no other sensible, practical or credible explanation as to why this fatal collision has happened.”

Frewin denies a charge of causing death by careless driving. The trial continues.