Driver felt ‘ashamed’ after fleeing scene of fatal collision

Victim: June Bryce-Stephen.
Victim: June Bryce-Stephen.
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A DRIVER accused of causing the death of a Sheffield teaching assistant in a crash while racing another motorist along a busy dual carriageway told a jury he felt ‘ashamed’ that he fled the scene of the fatal collision.

June Bryce-Stephen, aged 56, was killed when her Nissan Micra was hit by 23-year-old Adam Cox’s silver Honda Civic last March.

Fled: Simon Chevens denies racing on a busy road.

Fled: Simon Chevens denies racing on a busy road.

Sheffield Crown Court was told Simon Chevens, 42, of Wood Close, Chapeltown, was racing Cox in his orange Ford Focus seconds before the collision on Halifax Road, Wadsley Bridge.

But Chevens, who denies causing death by dangerous driving, told jurors he drove normally along Halifax Road, and said: “There was no race.”

Chevens also said he felt ‘shocked’ at witnessing the crash, and admitted briefly stopping at the scene before turning down nearby Lyminster Road.

“I was shocked,” he said. “I broke to a stop only for a couple of seconds. I’m ashamed to say I did a left turn and drove off.

“I’m ashamed of myself for not having stopped.”

He said he first noticed Cox’s Honda while travelling home along Stannington Road, and said the younger motorist’s driving was “a bit erratic”.

Chevens said he lost sight of Cox when they reached Penistone Road, encountering him again at the roundabout at Leppings Lane, and later at traffic lights on Halifax Road.

“The Civic shot off - I set off normally and then he floored it,” he said.

Chevens said Cox slowed down after they rounded a bend, before accelerating away again at speed.

“I flashed my lights at him just to let him know he was stupid, and that I wasn’t retaliating to what he was trying to provoke - a race or something.”

Chevens said he and Cox kept over six-and-a-half metres apart after leaving the lights, and denied driving at 70mph.

The court heard Chevens had only passed his test two weeks before the crash, taking an intensive driving course in Blackpool. He been on the road unsupervised around 10 times.

Andrew Hatton, prosecuting, told Chevens: “The reality is, you and Mr Cox were racing each other - side by side, nose to nose at times, both of you in high-performance cars.

“He wasn’t able to swerve to avoid Miss Bryce-Stephen because you were there.”

Cox, of Oldfield Road, Stannington, has admitted causing death by dangerous driving.

The trial continues.