Thursday, November 22, 2012

British cop 'felt sober after six-pint drinking session before car crash that killed new girlfriend'

Six pints is a lot of beer and of all people a cop should know about drinking and driving. He should not have been driving at all. But no doubt he will get a wrist slap, if that

A police officer whose new girlfriend died when he lost control of his car while driving at around twice the legal limit said he 'felt sober' when he got behind the wheel.

Brendan Buggie, 39, who was not on duty at the time, had downed six pints ahead of the crash in Greater Manchester.

Justyna Stanczak, 26, who was in the passenger seat, suffered fatal injuries when the Toyota Celica hit a van in Ramsbottom.

Greater Manchester Police officer Buggie, who denies causing death by careless driving while over the prescribed limit, has said the car skidded as a result of icy road conditions on the night of the accident last December.

The police officer had been driving Miss Stanczak - the best friend of his ex-girlfriend Lucy Fox - back to her home in Bury after the pair met at the end of her shift in a bar on December 4 last year.

The couple had been spotted walking to his own house by Miss Fox's mother and, fearing his ex-partner would turn up, Buggie offered to drive his new girlfriend to her home at around midnight.

Buggie, who had spent the afternoon in various local pubs, told Bradford Crown Court: 'I'd had a number of drinks at that time, I'm not denying it. 'But I felt sober.'

The officer's car hit a stationary white van parked on the A56 in Ramsbottom after it skidded on the road.

Buggie said the roads looked damp and although he did not notice ice on the surface, he had to defrost frozen hail from his car windscreen before the journey. 'As far as I could see, at that time it appeared to be damp,' he said. 'Speed-wise, I didn't feel like I was exceeding 40mph.

'Virtually as I'm exiting the corner the back end has come round to my right-hand side. 'It came as such a surprise because I'd nearly got round the bend,' Buggie said.

He said the car fishtailed before smashing into a parked van.

'The split second of the impact, I don't know whether I had my eyes closed or not.

'Straightaway I looked to my left and Justyna's eyes were shut.

'When I looked over, I expected screaming or shouting. But to look over and she's unconscious...To see someone not responding is the worst case scenario.'

Buggie called an ambulance but Miss Stanczak, a Polish national, died of 'massive internal bleeding' in hospital hours later, the court was told.

Expert witnesses have told the jury the road was extremely icy and the conditions treacherous.

The prosecution claims that Buggie was not driving with care and his ability to do so was impeded by the amount he had drunk.

Nicholas Williams, prosecuting, told jurors: 'The prosecution say he drove carelessly that night - no doubt because he'd been drinking - by failing to adapt his driving.'

The court previously heard that when the defendant's ex-girlfriend learned that he had been seen with Miss Stanczak it sparked a furious text exchange between the trio. The exchange of messages had left Miss Stanczak upset and Buggie offered to drive her home.

Despite briefly regaining consciousness after the crash, the 26-year-old died at around 4.30am at Fairfield General Hospital in Bury.

The trial, scheduled to last five days, continues.

Original report here

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