A young driver who crashed and killed his two friends has told how he ‘can’t understand’ what happened.
Jordan Clayton, 20, is accused of two counts of causing death by dangerous driving after a fatal collision that claimed the lives of Jade Pickering and Tia Guye.
Bolton Crown Court on Thursday heard how Clayton, Jade and Tia, as well as fellow passenger Laurie Graham, had been on their way to a bowling alley in September 2009 when they collided with a Mercedes coach carrying nine passengers on the notorious A6 Blackrod bypass.
In a statement read out to court from an interview just days after the crash, Clayton described how he had planned the trip as a surprise for his friend Jade, who had been feeling down that day.
Clayton said: “I had been with Laurie and Tia during the afternoon. We later met up with Jade.
“We went for a drive and I was planning to take the girls bowling at the Reebok. The girls didn’t have any money so it was going to be my treat.
“I wanted to brighten Jade up as she had had a bad day.
“As far as I’m aware they all had seat belts on. I always looked and told them to wear a belt.”
Clayton is accused of ignoring a number of warning signs that prohibited him from turning right at the A6 junction with Station Road in September 2009.
It is the prosecution’s case that he drove into the path of the coach, killing the two 16-year-old girls, who lived in Eaves Lane, and attended Runshaw College together.
He has already pleaded guilty to the lesser offence of causing death by careless driving.
Clayton said: “We were approaching the set of the traffic lights that were on the road and I was intending to drive straight up. The lights went green and I went through.
“I could see something approaching me with bright lights. I could see it was coming right towards me and I was unsure what to do.
“I turned right to get out of the way of the oncoming vehicle. All I could see were the bright lights coming towards me.
“As it was driving so fast I couldn’t get out of the way. I was almost stopped and could remember a crash and a noise.”
Clayton then described how he turned around to check on the girls, and collapsed from the shock.
He said: “I was bleeding through my nose and I think Tia was too.
“I was in a complete state of shock. I threw myself out of the car. I collapsed. I was taken to hospital. The next day I was told Tia and Jade had died.
“I’m not a dangerous driver and I can’t understand how the coach collided with my car.
“At the time all I knew was it was a very big vehicle with very bright lights.
“Jade was one of my best friends. I’m struggling to come to terms with what has hapepned. It’s like a terrible dream.”
The court also heard from David Lewis, who witnessed the crash.
He said: “I saw the car come into the middle of the junction. It wasn’t driving fast. It was probably like it had just set off from the lights.
“It wasn’t moving erratically. It was a slow movement, it wasn’t fast.
“The coach just ploughed into the car.”