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Accused driver denies concocting defence story

A woman charged with running over twin brothers denied fabricating a story about being blinded by the lights of a passing car to avoid conviction.

Tracey Pitt, 51, acknowledged that she didn't mention the glare in a call to 911 or when speaking to police following the collision, but denied the suggestion she made up the story to match evidence offered by forensic collision investigator James Keenan.

“At the police station, the focus was on asking questions about impairment,” she said. “At the scene, it was about the accident.

“[In the phone call] I was hysterical and my focus was on getting help for the people who I thought might be dead.”

Ms Pitt has denied six offences in connection to the early morning collision on January 29 last year, which seriously injured Rudolph and Randolph Smith, 36.

The court heard Ms Pitt struck the brothers, who it is alleged were sitting, stooping or lying in the southbound lane of Woodlands Road, at around 2.20am. The brothers were dragged more than 40ft before Ms Pitt's car came to a full stop.

Ms Pitt told the court she had spent the evening with friends at Hamilton Princess, where she had two wines, but denied being impaired when the collision took place.

She said she was driving south when she saw glare from a passing vehicle and felt her car hit something. She only realised she had struck the men after stopping the vehicle.

As the trial continued yesterday, Ms Pitt said she was unaware of how fast she was driving when the collision took place but said she was driving cautiously and had applied brakes when she was affected by the glare of the passing car.

She admitted that after calling 911, she had not gone to help the injured men, saying: “I thought they were dead.”

Ms Pitt also denied the suggestion by arresting officer PC Tavoris Douglas that she was unsteady on her feet following the crash, despite wearing boots with 4in heels.

She told the court that after being arrested and taken to Hamilton Police Station she was confused and, after being told anything she said could be used against her, asked if she needed a lawyer. An officer called Victoria Pearman on her behalf, but reached her voice mail.

She said she was still willing to give a breath sample, but told custodial officer Sargeant Narase Samaroo she was uncomfortable doing so before speaking to a lawyer. She was then told she was refusing the test.

Ms Pitt acknowledged that Sgt Samaroo had explained it was an offence to refuse the test, but didn't know she had to do so at that moment.

“I never refused,” she said. “[Sgt Samaroo] explained it to me and I said I still wanted to take it but I wanted time to take it at that point. I wanted to speak to someone. I never said I wasn't going to take it at all.”

After being taken to a cell, she told the court she was praying that the men were all right and that everything would be all right.

“I was horrified by the accident that night,” she said. “It was a very painful experience that I will remember for the rest of my life.

“I'm very, very sorry for the injuries that Rudolph Smith and Randolph Smith sustained that night, but I wasn't drunk and I wasn't impaired. I wasn't driving recklessly, I was driving carefully like I always do. I just didn't see them lying in the road.”

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Published September 07, 2013 at 9:00 am (Updated September 06, 2013 at 11:49 pm)

Accused driver denies concocting defence story

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