A company director who ploughed head-on into an oncoming car killing the driver, had been making phone calls for more than half her car journey, a court heard yesterday.
The other driver, a hospital radiographer from south Warwickshire, was cut from the wreckage but suffered a heart attack and died as the air ambulance was about to take off.
Company director Lynne-Marie Howden (43) of East Street, Long Buckby, Northants, has denied causing the death of 55-year-old Patricia Frostick from Shipston-on-Stour in November 2007.
It is alleged she was not paying attention as she drove her Mercedes CLK220 along the A429 between Barford and Wellesbourne because she was in the middle of a mobile phone call, Warwick Crown Court was told.
Mrs Frostick was on her way to work as a radiologist at Warwick Hospital.
Howden had been seen minutes earlier in the wrong lane for the A429 at the Longbridge roundabout near Warwick, and she pulled across in front of another car, which prosecutor Tom Schofield said showed she was not paying as much attention as she should have been.Then on a sweeping left-hand bend, while she was in the middle of a conversation on her mobile phone, Howden’s Mercedes went across the solid white lines onto the wrong side of the road and hit Mrs Frostick’s Ford Ka head-on.
The phone was examined and it was found during her journey of just over an hour, Howden had held a 23-minute phone conversation with her boyfriend, followed by another chat with him lasting a couple of minutes.
At 8.19am she made a call to directory enquiries, and at 8.23am began a conversation with a work colleague interrupted briefly because of a poor signal before Howden suddenly stopped speaking at the moment of the impact.
Howden’s car was fitted with a Parrot hands-free device, which an officer found was not turned on, and telephone earphones were in her handbag.
But Mr Schofield said: “She is not on trial for using her phone while driving, but for going onto the wrong side of the road. We suggest the reason was that she was distracted by the call.
“It was an accident which would never have happened if the defendant had not been on the phone at the time and had not been on the phone for 35 minutes during the journey and had been paying attention.”
When Howden was later interviewed she said the Parrot hands-free had stopped working the day before, but that she was on the phone using the headphones in its place.
She said she was talking to her colleague and the car veered over the road, suggesting she may have hit some ice, grease or the kerb.
But Mr Schofield said there was no ice or grease on the road and no sign the kerb had been hit.
The trial continues.