Mother claimed car ‘juddered’ before crash

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Staff reporter

A MUM charged with causing the death of her son by careless driving told how everyone was happy in the car, listening to music, when the steering started constantly juddering.

Karen Evans, 36, said it was getting harder to keep hold of the steering wheel and with a slip road coming up on her left she made a last minute decision to turn down it to safety.

“But it was just so hard to turn,” she said in a police interview, read to the jury at Mold Crown Court yesterday.

Mrs Evans, of The Nook, Mancot, denies a charge of causing death by careless driving.

The court has heard how her son Jordan, 11, who was autistic, died in the crash as he was being taken to school at St Richard Gwyn in Flint by his mum with his two sisters in the car.

The prosecution claim it was human error that caused the crash but the defence say Mrs Evans was faced with a mechanical emergency and tried to get off the A55 dual-carriageway at Northop Hall, on the morning of April 29 last year. Interviewed, Mrs Evans said her daughter Levi, 18, was in the front passenger seat, and Jordan was in the back with his sister Lilly May, three.

“Jordan was singing to the music. Everyone was just happy,” she said.

She came up behind a vehicle and pulled out to overtake, she explained, when there was a movement “like one big swerve”.

Mrs Evans said she was scared of hitting the barrier, it was getting harder to keep hold of the steering wheel and she then saw the slip road coming up. She made a split second decision to get up there to give her more time to slow down and get the car under control.

But the car clipped the side. “The steering was just so hard to turn,” she said. “I remember going up in the air. The next thing I remember is waking up and Levi screaming.”

Mrs Evans denied that she was speeding or driving erratically before the crash.

When questioned, she denied a witness estimate of her speed at 80 mph and said she was travelling at 65 to 70 mph when the car started to judder.

“The steering wheel was just shaking in my hand,” she said. “I was trying to control it but it was just not happening.”

Mrs Evans said she was panicking with the traffic around her and decided to get into the slip road.

The jury heard how Jordan died of a head injury. Mrs Evans broke her back in two places, six ribs were broken, she had a broken collar bone and a punctured lung, and she received stitches to a head wound.

Lilly May had a broken left leg, a broken vertebrae in her back and a punctured lung, and Levi had stitches to her hand, head and feet.

Mrs Evans denied that she had suddenly decided to drive down the slip road, leaving it too late, because she realised she had no fuel. She had not seen the fuel light on, she said.

While she was late that morning, she was not in that much of a hurry. “I was already late,” she said. “I went across the road to get off the carriageway to safety. I didn’t realise it was going to kill my son,” she said in the interview.

Proceeding.

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