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Scott Ralph was on the phone before serious crash which hurt four people on A299 Thanet Way

By Paul Hooper

A driver was talking to his business partner over the phone when his car smashed into the back of another vehicle, leaving four people hurt.

Scott Ralph’s Citroen Picasso shunted a red Daihatsu into a tipper lorry at St Nicholas-At-Wade on the A299 Thanet Way on April 1 last year.

The 34-year-old, from Arcon Road, Ashford, has admitted causing serious injuries to three people by driving carelessly – but he denies he was driving dangerously.

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

Prosecutor Daniel Stevenson told a jury at Canterbury Crown Court how Citroen driver Tamara Avery, her daughter Lauren and son Kieran Hicks all needed hospital treatment after the accident.

He said the crashes 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," he said. "She was doing about 10mph.

“Ralph failed to respond to the traffic conditions and was travelling at 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."

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

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

Ms Avery, from Herne Bay, was airlifted to King's College Hospital in London after receiving spinal and scalp injuries.

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

Kieran was taken to the William Harvey Hospital with a broken shoulder blade.

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 bluetooth set and was talking to his business partner at the time of the crash."

He was asked by officers if he had been distracted and replied: “I think my attention could have been a lot better and I think I was careless.”

Ralph was asked if he was accelerating or braking at the time of the crash and replied: “Hand on my heart I can’t say."

He was asked if he thought his driving had been dangerous and replied: “I would probably say yes."

The trial continues.

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