South East Wales

Rhws Junior School crash driver was wearing flip flops

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Media captionRobert Bell says he cannot remember the crash last year at Rhoose in the Vale of Glamorgan.

A driver was wearing flip flops when he crashed into a lollipop lady and pupils on a school crossing in south Wales, a court has heard.

But under questioning, Robert Bell, 62, said he regularly wore them and that would not have impaired his driving.

He said he had no recollection of accelerating before the crash outside Rhws Junior School.

He denies careless driving at Cardiff magistrates court.

His car flipped on its roof in the collision last June, injuring five children and four adults. Lollipop lady Karin Williams, 50, took the impact and was in hospital for 10 weeks while one of the children was unconscious for three days.

Image copyright Wales News Service
Image caption Mr Bell said he often wore flip flops and they did not impair his driving

Giving evidence, Mr Bell said he did not remember what had happened from the moment immediately before the accident until he came around upside down in his car.

But the prosecution said he did know what he was doing and he was conscious of what happened and that he had told a paramedic that he remembered surging forward after a speed bump.

Mr Bell said that he was in a daze after the accident and shook up. He said that he thought he had killed three people.

Earlier, the court heard how Mr Bell's car sent young children "cartwheeling through the air".

Ms Williams told the court how she heard a "revving noise" and saw Mr Bell gripping the wheel with his eyes wide open seconds before the crash.

"I was at the crossing when all of a sudden I looked to my left and I saw a dark car coming towards me at speed," she said.

"It was on the wrong side of the road and collided with a bollard. It was very close to me.

"I remember seeing the driver's eyes were wide open and gripping his hands tight on the steering wheel. It was all happening so fast.

"I was shouting something to warn the kids and moved in their direction out of instinct."

'Underneath the car'

Witnesses to the crash heard a "horrendous bang" as the car ploughed into the group of parents and children.

One witness told police: "It was chaos. Parents and children were screaming.

"The black car had been travelling at normal speed but then suddenly there was a revving noise. At the same time it veered across the road, flipped over and slid on its roof.

"Karen was left on the front of the car as it carried on sliding."

Image caption Mr Bell's Audi car ended up on its roof

Lisa Jones, prosecuting, said: "No one but Mr Bell caused the car to veer across the road.

"A competent driver wouldn't have driven the car that way. The real issue is whether he is responsible for the manner of the driving.

"He says he had no control because he was unconscious or unaware at the time."

The trial continues.

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