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Scott Ralph 'feels guilty' after crash in St-Nicholas-at-Wade which injured four people

By Paul Hooper

A driver wept as he told a jury how he blamed himself for the three vehicle smash which left four people injured.

Scott Ralph, who was at the wheel of his Citroen Picasso with his teenage stepson next to him, admitted the accident was his fault.

The 34-year-old from Arcon Road, Ashford, has admitting causing serious injury to three people by driving carelessly. But he denies dangerous driving.

Two air ambulances were called to the serious crash on the Thanet Way. Picture: Timothy Wooding (5225649)
Two air ambulances were called to the serious crash on the Thanet Way. Picture: Timothy Wooding (5225649)

Ralph broke down in tears at Canterbury Crown Court saying: “I feel guilty.I have dreams about it nearly every night. I’m so sorry.”

He revealed he was talking to a business partner using a Bluetooth headphone at the moment his car ploughed into the back of a Daihatsu on the A299 Thanet Way on April 1 last year.

Citroen driver Tamara Avery, her daughter, Lauren, and son Kieran Hicks all needed hospital treatment after the accident.

His lawyer James Howard asked: “Are you accepting the blame for the accident?“ He answered ‘yes.”

Ralph said he was “entirely at fault” for the collision and that no-one else was to blame.

He said he had been driving at between 55 to 60mph and had spotted traffic slowing down in front of him but as he changed lanes he saw a Citroen was “literally there” in front of him.

He added: “I slammed my foot down.”

“I feel guilty.I have dreams about it nearly every night. I’m so sorry...” Scott Ralph

Ralph’s car shunted the Diahatsu into a tipper lorry at St Nicholas-at-Wade on the A299 on April 1 last year.

Prosecutor Daniel Stephenson said the crash happened on the London-bound carriageway in good weather at 2pm following another accident earlier which had caused traffic to slow down.

“It was a straight section of the road and Ms Avery was in the near side lane driving at 50mph but had begun to slow down after seeing brake lights ahead of her. She was doing about 10mph.

“Ralph failed to respond to the traffic conditions and was travelling at round about 60mph when his Citroen Picasso smashed into the rear of the Daihatsu.

“That propelled the Daihatsu forward into a Volvo tipper lorry. It became wedged underneath which then travelled forward dragging the car with it. Essentially the Daihatsu was crushed from the back and front," he said.

Four people in the Daihatsu were hurt – three of them seriously and they had to be cut out of the vehicle by firefighters.

Tamara Avery, from Herne Bay, was airlifted to Kings College Hospital in London after receiving spinal and scalp injuries.

The crash caused long delays on the A299. Picture: Timothy Wooding (5225647)
The crash caused long delays on the A299. Picture: Timothy Wooding (5225647)

Her daughter Lauren was also taken by helicopter to St George’s Hospital in London with spinal injuries.

Her son, Kieran Hicks was taken to the William Harvey Hospital with a broken shoulder blade.

And a fourth passenger Tyler Townsend escaped serious injuries but received a bruised chest and nose –and still needed hospital treatment.

The prosecutor added that Ralph’s mobile phone was handed to police after the accident and revealed he had made and received calls in the half an hour before the smash.

Mr Stephenson added: “There is no evidence he was using the phone by hand. He told police that he had a blue tooth set and was talking to his business partner at the time of the crash”

The trial continues.

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