A man has gone on trial accused of dangerous driving after a horror head-on crash that left a teenage scooter rider paralysed from the chest down.
Brendan Gall appeared in the dock at Aberdeen Sheriff Court over the devastating collision on the B994 Kintore to Kemnay road.
The 34-year-old is accused of causing serious injury to the male rider of the motor scooter, 19-year-old Oskar Sumera, by driving at excessive speeds for the conditions and road layout.
It is alleged he lost control of his black SEAT Leon, mounted a verge, drove on the wrong side of the road and collided with the scooter.
At the beginning of the trial, fiscal depute Katy Begg read the remote jury a joint minute of agreed evidence, which detailed a horrific list of injuries sustained by Mr Sumera.
Scooter rider seen ‘somersaulting over bonnet’
The court heard he was on a life support machine and required stomach surgery to stop internal bleeding and is now completely paralysed from the chest down.
The first witness to give evidence was Anne McGhie.
Under questioning from Ms Begg, Mrs McGhie described seeing Gall’s car “swerving over to the wrong side of the road”.
She added: “The only way I can describe it is as if he was losing control.”
Asked about the October 20 2018 collision itself, Mrs McGhie said: “I heard a thud and saw the scooter guy somersaulting over the bonnet of the car and landing further down.”
Cross-examining the witness, defence agent John McLeod said: “The word you chose was ‘swerving’. What I’m going to put to you is that the tyres of the car were actually skidding on the road surface. Is that how you remember it?”
Mrs McGhie replied: “I don’t know. All I saw was the car come swerving onto the wrong side of the road.”
Also giving evidence was Anna Anderson, Gall’s partner at the time, who had been a front-seat passenger when the crash happened.
‘It happened really, really quickly’
Asked by Ms Begg to tell the jury her recollection of the incident, she said: “I was on my phone and I remember the car hit a corner or something and the car spun and I put my phone over my face and we went into the moped.”
She added: “It felt like he went into the verge and then it spun. The car definitely lost a lot of control quite quickly.”
Ms Anderson described Gall frantically grappling with the steering wheel in a bid to regain control of the vehicle and straighten it out.
Asked if his efforts had any affect, she replied: “Not much. He managed to stop the car from going into a tree but that’s when he went into the moped.
“It happened really, really quickly.”
The witness said she “panicked” after the collision, and went to check on the scooter rider and called 999.
‘I felt the tyres on the car lose grip’
Ms Anderson had described the conditions that day as dry, but said when she got out of the car at the scene of the crash the road surface “felt like it was damp”.
She said: “I remember putting my foot on it and it was slippy, but I can’t remember too much about it.”
Cross-examining Ms Anderson, Mr McLeod took her through parts of a statement she had given to police the day after the crash.
The statement said: “We continued down the road. I didn’t think anything of the way Brendan was driving. I would have noticed if he was going too fast.
“I was away to reach for a sweetie in the centre bitty when I felt the tyres on the car lose grip as we went round a corner.”
Mr McLeod said: “Now that I’ve jogged your memory, is that consistent with your recollection?”
She replied: “Yes. It was a long time ago. I remember that. It’s coming back now.”
Quoting further from the statement, Mr McLeod said: “I remember when I got out of the car that it was a bit slidey underfoot and it certainly wasn’t dry.”
Ms Anderson agreed the statement was true.
‘I didn’t feel like he was going 40mph’
She went on to describe being “really upset, a bit scared, panicked mainly” after the crash, and said Gall was “a bit of a mess”, agitated and upset.
Re-examining the witness, Ms Begg asked what she would say if the jury was to hear evidence that Gall was going fast.
Ms Anderson replied: “I didn’t feel like he was going 40mph. It was probably 60mph.
“I don’t think he was going as fast as 80mph. I genuinely don’t know how fast he was going.
“I think with the type of car you kind of know when it’s going a bit too fast. I certainly didn’t feel like he was.”
Gall, of Victoria Street, Dyce, denies the charge of causing serious injury by dangerous driving, as well as a second charge of driving without insurance.
The trial, before Sheriff Philip Mann, continues.