A grandmother who killed two pedestrians after falling asleep at the wheel failed to tell the DVLA or her doctor that she had previously drifted off while driving, a court heard yesterday.
Teresa Sant, 58, claimed she had fallen asleep whilst her four-year-old grandson sat strapped in the back of the vehicle, pressing down on the accelerator as she sped towards two women standing on the pavement.
Standing trial at Plymouth Crown Court, Mrs Sant said she had previously drifted into sleep during a trip to Cornwall, but had failed to notify her GP or the DVLA.
She told jurors that she had also “dozed off” momentarily whilst stopping at traffic lights in the past, but told police that she did “not feel tired” prior to the fatal accident in May last year.
Prosecuting, Jason Beal told the jury how witness Keiran Harris had seen “panic” in Mrs Sant’s eyes as she clipped his mountain bike and continued to accelerate towards pedestrians Victoria Hodge, 42, and Marie-Helene Gieblen, who had just alighted from their regular bus home from work.
Veering across her lane and mounting the pavement, Mrs Sant is alleged to have hit the two women in her new Ford B Max, bought just four days prior to the incident, before coming to halt further down the road.
"He [Harris] made eye contact with her and saw panic in her eyes,” Mr Beal continued. “After clipping him...the car carried along the pavement and hit both Miss Giebelen and Miss Hodge, crushing one against a wall and one against the pavement.
“Both of those women died from injuries sustained from being run over by Mrs Sant."
Interviewed by police officers at the scene, Mrs Sant said her foot had slipped from the brake onto the accelerator as she attempted to swerve the women, adding that she had “panicked” in the heat of the moment.
However, Mr Beal told jurors that skid marks on the road showed no signs of braking or any attempt by Mrs Sant to swerve away from the oncoming pedestrians, adding that it could not be said with “certainty” why she had “lost control”. He added that no medical explanation had been provided by the defendant.
Presiding, Judge Paul Darlow told the jury that the case was “emotionally charged,” and that the defence would argue that the accident was caused by a “momentary distraction”.
Mrs Sant denies two charges of causing death by dangerous driving and her trial continues.