Jim Clark Rally crash driver saw woman 'flying in the air'

Image source, PA
Image caption,
David Carney was competing in the Jim Clark Rally when he crashed

The driver of a rally car involved in a crash which killed three people broke down as he told an inquiry he saw a woman "flying in the air".

David Carney, 29, said he lost control after going over a bridge and realised he was heading towards people.

He no longer rallies and added: "Every time I close my eyes at night, I still see three people lying in the road."

Mr Carney was giving evidence at an inquiry into the deaths of two men and a woman at the Jim Clark Rally in 2014.

Iain Provan, Elizabeth Allan and Len Stern died at the event.

Mr Carney told Edinburgh Sheriff Court he had been an amateur rally driver since 2008, competing in races at home and overseas, and had driven the Jim Clark Rally in 2013.

He said his vehicle had come off the road during the rally the day before the crash on 31 May and hit a tree.

Image caption,
Elizabeth Allan, Len Stern and Iain Provan died at the rally in 2014

Mr Carney said it had been repaired by his team of engineers then undergone further repairs on the day of the crash as the rear had felt unusual during the morning stages.

He said once those repairs had been carried out the car "felt perfect", and he had expected to go over the bridge with no problems.

The court was shown photos of the car landing and swerving to the left, then right.

Mr Carney said: "I steered into the slide but the car just kept coming. It seemed to just go that quick, I couldn't catch it."

He told police in a statement: "I knew at this time I was a passenger as I had the steering wheel fully locked and I couldn't do anything else."

'Lost control'

He told the court: "The car continued to turn round 180 degrees while sliding back off the road."

Andrew Brown QC, for the Crown, asked him: "Were you aware that the car was heading towards spectators?"

Mr Carney became emotional as he replied: "Only when I looked after I knew the car was gone.

"I grabbed my helmet and started shouting 'no, no, no'.

"I knew I had lost control at that point. It didn't seem real at first.

"I remember seeing dust and a woman flying in the air."

He said there was "disbelief" after the car came to a stop and he got out to see if he could help the people lying on the ground.

'War zone'

He said: "I went over to someone who was getting up from all fours and someone was running down to them. I said sorry.

"I wanted to try and help in some way but I didn't know how."

Mr Carney said he "couldn't figure out" why the car had crashed.

The inquiry heard from official reports stating there were no defects on the car and concluding the crash at 81mph was likely to be either due to the car going too fast for the driver's ability, not being aligned to a slight deviation to the right on landing, not landing in proper alignment or a combination of these factors.

Mr Carney said he did not believe he had been going too fast, and added: "It seemed to be okay from the moment we left the bridge to the split second we landed and then it just went."

The inquiry had earlier heard from marshal Tom Roger, 27, who said the crash site was like a "war zone".

He said if he had known people were standing in the area before the crash he would have stopped the cars, but he had been standing further along the road out of sight of the area.

The inquiry continues.

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