Death smash driver is still haunted by lights

Jade at her prom
Jade at her prom

A young driver told a court how he still sees the lights from a coach which collided with his car, killing two teenage girls.

Jordan Clayton, 20, was talking at the trial where he is accused of causing death by dangerous driving after a crash on the A6 Blackrod bypass which claimed the lives of Tia Guye and Jade Pickering.

Clayton says he was taking Tia, Jade, and fellow passenger Laurie Graham to a bowling alley at the Reebok stadium in September 2009 when his Ford Focus collided with a Mercedes coach.

The 16-year-old girls, who lived in Eaves Lane, Chorley. and attended Runshaw College, later died from their injuries.

Speaking at Bolton Crown Court on Friday, Clayton refuted claims that he ignored a number of warning signs that prohibited him from turning right at the A6 junction with Station Road.

Giving evidence, he said: “It was a split second decision and I was scared, it all happened so fast.

“At the time I didn’t know what was happening.

“I wasn’t wanting to go right. I just didn’t know what to do.

“The lights have stuck in my mind to this day. I was confused at the time and I just didn’t know.”

Clayton, who now studies construction management at the University of Central Lancashire has already pleaded guilty to the lesser offence of causing death by careless driving.

The court also heard police may not have acted on information that the driver of the coach Kevin Morton, who was taking nine passengers to stops in Chorley and Preston after a trip to London, had been on the phone minutes before the fatal collision on the A6 Blackrod bypass.

Records obtained after the crash showed Mr Morton had received a call from his friend Chris Jones at 9pm.

However in police interviews and giving evidence in court earlier in the trial, Mr Morton said the phone call had actually been received while he was unloading passengers in Leigh, at around 8.40pm.

He also said he had been going no faster than 40mph when approaching the junction, and no faster than 20mph when the collision occurred.

Reading from the coach’s tachograph indicate he was travelling no faster than 50mph in the 30 minutes before the crash, and no faster than 37mph when the crash occurred. The speed limit for coaches on that stretch of road is 50mph.

Defending Clayton, Philip Parry said: “9.05pm is the time of the collision. 9.01pm is the time of the phone call. How do you know that him going on the phone and coming off the phone was not a contributory factor to the accident?”

PC Ashurst said: “In the early stages we knew that he made or received the call at 9pm. It was discussed that if he had received this call at this time it was not a contributory factor to the collision.”

(Proceeding)