Gwyneth Paltrow's accuser describes moment of impact during ski crash
Gwyneth Paltrow let out a “blood-curdling” scream before she “lost control” and crashed into a skier on a Utah ski slope, her alleged victim told a court.
Taking to the stand for the first time since the civil trial began six days ago, Terry Sanderson, 76, a retired optometrist, told the jury what he remembered of the seconds leading up to the collision.
“I remember everything was great and then I heard something I’ve never heard at a ski resort before - this blood-curdling scream like someone was out of control and going to hit a tree and die," he said, mimicking the sound with his hands in the air, adding he “did not like going through the scene”.
Mr Sanderson is suing Paltrow for more than $300,000 (£250,000), claiming she skied into him recklessly from behind in the 2016 incident at Deer Valley park, breaking four of his ribs and causing head trauma that continues to affect him to this day.
Paltrow has countersued for $1 and attorney fees, alleging Mr Sanderson was at fault.
Paltrow was seen shaking her head as Mr Sanderson told the court the contact from the collision felt "perfectly centred" in the bottom of his shoulder blades.
“I got hit in my back so hard, between my shoulder blades, a serious, serious smack… I’m flying,” Mr Sanderson said.
He said he recalled being knocked unconscious and coming round to a “male voice shouting”, who later turned out to be ski instructor Eric Christansen.
“I heard him saying ‘you weren't skiing under the rules’, he was insistent I was the bad guy. I thought this must be (Paltrow’s) husband or boyfriend. It was a very angry person trying to bully me into thinking something," he told the court. “I was trying to placate the man, mouthing I’m sorry.”
Attorneys for Paltrow later cross-examined Mr Sanderson, casting doubt on his claims and suggested he was using it as a cover for various failed relationships in his life.
When asked about the now-notorious email he sent to his three daughters days shortly after the crash with the subject line “I’m famous… at what cost”, he explained his wording: “My head was scrambled, I was trying to desperately communicate with my daughters,” he said, before fighting back tears. “I didn’t pick my words well or at all how I felt. I was adding levity to a serious situation and it backfired.”
His attorney asks: "Did you think it was cool to collide with a celebrity?" He explained he has never been interested in Hollywood types and that he just wanted to let his children know he was OK. "I'm not into celebrity worship, so I didn't care at that point," he said.
When asked why he brought the lawsuit, he replied: “No one believed how serious my injuries were.”
He went on to call himself a ”self-imposed recluse”, who now spent 90 per cent of his time in the house. “I don’t have the same spark I had. I have a much wider range of temperament than I did before,” he said when asked about anger issues since his collision due to brain damage.
He claimed his then-relationship broke down over claims his personality changed. “I’m a different person,” he said of the fallout since the crash. “Another personality is inhabiting my body now.”
However, Stephen Owens, a lawyer for Paltrow pointed out that he had two divorces and multiple relationships before the incident and suggested he was using it as an excuse for his personal failings.
The case continues.