A driver accused of killing his teenage friend in a horrific crash on the A90 was travelling as fast as 91mph, a court has been told.
Jake Summers, who denies driving at excessive speed without due care and attention, crawled for 19 metres from the 21-year-old’s wrecked Ford Fiesta, from which Dylan Irvine, 19, was thrown.
The two stricken young men lay in a field near St Fergus for 10 hours overnight, waiting for someone to report the collision to the emergency services so that help would arrive.
But Mr Irvine lost his life in the tragedy after the vehicle he was in came off the Peterhead to Fraserburgh stretch of road and smashed into trees on October 4 2020.
Giving evidence to an ongoing trial on Wednesday, Police Constable Calum Jamieson told a jury of a report that calculated Summer’s car had moved at a “maximum theoretical speed” of 91mph when it struck the first of two trees.
Peterhead man Jake Summers denies speeding before fatal A90 crash that killed Dylan Irvine
Fiscal depute John Adams asked him whether he was able to have a “general view” as to how fast the car was travelling based on his experience as a collision investigator.
“Based on the damage to the vehicle and other vehicles I’ve seen, I would say it was a high speed,” Mr Jamieson replied.
Mr Adams then asked Mr Jamieson if he had used the combined elements of the “impact damage to the car, the speed found on the speedometer and the post-impact movements” of the Fiesta to form his opinion.
“That’s correct, yes. A combination of all those things,” the witness responded.
Using the findings of the report, Mr Jamieson described a scenario in which the car hit one tree at high speed before colliding with another, causing it to spin 360 degrees before landing in a field.
According to the report, the Fiesta settled more than eight meters from the road, throwing Dylan Irvine from the vehicle.
Jake Summers then crawled into the field for 19 meters.
But court heard that the crash, which occurred at 9.30pm, was only reported to the police ten hours later, at 7.30am the following morning.
In the meantime, the two stricken men had been laying in the field for all that time before emergency services arrived.
Mr Adams asked the collision investigator to elaborate on how, in his opinion, the Ford Fiesta came to spin 360 degrees and land in the field.
“It’s the violence of the rotation,” Mr Jamieson answered, adding: “It was a very, very violent impact.”
The prosecutor then queried: “Having considered all the evidence, what opinion have you formed?”
PC Jamieson commented: “That the vehicle has been travelling in all likelihood at the maximum theoretical speed for the bend [in the road].
“It’s consistent with the level of damage to the car,” the witness added.
A90 crash investigator’s evidence challenged by Jake Summers’ defence lawyer
However, Mr Jamieson’s initial claims were challenged under cross-examination by defence counsel David Moggach, who is representing the accused driver Mr Summers.
He quizzed the police investigator on the formula used to assess the speed of the crashed Fiesta and suggested that it should be treated with a “great deal of caution”.
Mr Jamieson agreed, stating that he thought it best to “err on the side of caution”.
Mr Moggach asked in reply: “Just for the reason that we can’t be sure?”
The witness responded: “We can’t be sure”.
Mr Moggach then probed Mr Jamieson’s opinion that the car’s wheels came off the ground and how long they could have been airborne.
“All these factors could give a false reading of the speed – a red herring?” he queried.
The expert witness answered: “Yes, absolutely”.
Mr Moggach continued: “And if the starting point is wrong then the results can be wrong?”
The investigator told the court: “Yes, that’s true”.
During redirection, the prosecutor suggested to Mr Jamieson that his “candid” answers during cross-examination “might be confusing” for the jury and asked him to clarify his position.
“You believe this incident was caused by a high-speed collision, how confident are you in expressing that opinion? Mr Adams asked.
“Very confident,” the witness replied.
Summers, of Harbour Street in Peterhead, denies losing control of his red Ford Fiesta.
He’s accused of causing the car to cross into the opposing lane of the A90 carriageway near the St Fergus Gas Plant, where the vehicle then struck trees and landed in a field.
The trial, before Sheriff Morag McLaughlin, continues.
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