TWO drivers accused of causing a fatal smash by racing each other along a busy Sheffield road were travelling at speeds of up to 70mph, a court heard.
Teaching assistant June Bryce-Stephen, aged 56, was killed when her Nissan Micra was struck by 23-year-old Adam Cox’s silver Honda Civic on March 6 last year.
Jurors at Sheffield Crown Court have been told that, prior to the collision, Cox’s car was ‘racing’ Simon Chevens’ orange Ford Focus along Halifax Road, Wadsley Bridge.
Resident Karen Ellis, who was out collecting a Chinese takeaway with her husband on the evening of the smash, told the court the cars sped past her as she waited to cross the road.
She said: “They were going extremely fast. Really fast. As I was stood waiting to cross the road, I inadvertently stood back as you would when a lorry goes past or cars of any speed.
“I thought they were racing. They were going above the speed limit and, because of how close they seemed to be together, I thought they were racing.
“You don’t often see cars going at that speed on that road.”
She said the cars disappeared around the bend and then she heard what she thought was the sound of a vehicle back-firing.
When they rounded the corner themselves, the couple discovered there had been a collision and went to help.
Her husband, Darren Ellis, told the jury the cars were travelling at between 60 and 70mph.
The speed limit on the stretch of road is 40mph.
Mr Ellis said: “I heard two cars coming up the hill - just a loud noise basically from the engines. They were about 30 yards away from me when I first saw them, they were going quite fast.”
Andrew Hatton, prosecuting, asked: “Did you form any view of their speed?”
Mr Ellis replied: “They were going quite a lot more than 40. Enough to make us step back from the pavement.
“I would estimate they were going at 60 to 70mph.”
Motorist Andrew Carl described the two cars pulling up alongside his vehicle at traffic lights on Halifax Road, and “braking hard” before setting off “pretty quick”.
It is alleged that, following the smash, Chevens, aged 42, of Wood Close, Chapeltown, who had passed his driving test only two weeks earlier, fled the scene.
Cox, of Oldfield Road, Stannington, has admitted causing death by dangerous driving.
The trial continues.