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Court: Driver fell asleep before fatal crash

A driver fell asleep at the wheel and ploughed into a tent killing a man and injuring his wife, a court has been told.

Calin Maybury is accused of causing the death of Melvin Smith by careless driving when his car crashed into a tent on Kindley Field Road over the 2014 Cup Match holiday.

Yesterday, Mr Smith’s wife, Dawn Santucci-Smith, fought back tears as she described waking up in “excruciating pain” in the early hours of Saturday, August 2.

She said: “I remember calling for my husband several times. He was not responsive.

“My pain was in my upper arm and my neck, and I had pain in my back too. It was still dark, I could not see anything. I felt as if I could not even move. I remember someone telling me that they needed to cut the tent open because we were trapped.”

The jury at the Supreme Court was told Mr and Mrs Smith, who had been married nearly 15 years and had two children, were taken to hospital by ambulance.

Mrs Smith said that she spoke to her husband again in hospital the day after the crash, just before he was due to go in for surgery.

She added: “I remember telling him I loved him and saying ‘see you later’. He said, ‘OK, love you.’

“That was the extent of that conversation before he went in to surgery.

“I remember someone telling me surgery had been a success so I asked to see him, but they told me he was still sedated.

“On August 5 someone came up to see me and told me my husband was dead.”

Mr Smith died of his injuries three days after the collision, while his wife was treated for serious neck and shoulder injuries and remained in hospital for 27 days.

Opening the case for the prosecution yesterday Garrett Byrne said that Mr Maybury had not slept for nearly 24 hours prior to the accident that occurred at 5.30am on Saturday, August 2.

He added: “The fact he had gone without sleep for 24 hours we say is a critical feature of this case, and is one which you will have to take into account and put some weight to.”

Mr Byrne told jurors that Mr Maybury had woken up at around 6am the day before the accident and had spent most of the afternoon at Somerset Cricket Club with friends.

The 20-year-old later went to Snorkel Park between 12.30am and 3.30am on the Saturday before returning home and then driving four friends home in his car.

He was on his way back from dropping the last of his friends home in St David’s when he fell asleep on Kindley Field Road, Mr Byrne said.

“He told police his last recollection was going around the roundabout,” the prosecutor added.

“Our case is quite simple — when you look at all the circumstances you can have no doubt that he was driving without due care and attention.

“This was not some accident of a moment’s inattention, quite the reverse. Having gone 24 hours without sleep there was a real and obvious risk that he would fall asleep. That risk must have been known to him at the time.”

The court heard that Mr Maybury appeared shocked and shaken at the scene, and that he told officers he had fallen asleep and lost control of the car.

Mr Maybury denies causing the death of Mr Smith by careless driving and a second charge of causing grievous bodily harm to Mrs Smith by careless driving.

The trial continues.• It is The Royal Gazette’s policy not to allow comments on stories regarding criminal court cases. This is to prevent any statements being published that may jeopardise the outcome of that case.