Woman ‘pretended to be a racing driver’ when van crashed into house

The trial of Tracey Bibby started yesterday. Picture: Archant

The trial of Tracey Bibby started yesterday. Picture: Archant - Credit: Archant

A Clevedon woman accused of killing a 90-year-old grandmother was ‘pretending to be a racing car driver, warming up the tyres’ when she crashed into a house, a jury has been told.

The trial of Tracy Bibby, aged 35, started yesterday (Tuesday) at Bristol Crown Court after she pleaded not guilty to causing death by dangerous driving, careless driving and driving while disqualified.

Joan Woodier, aged 90, had been on the phone to her son when a van crashed into the front of her home in Yeolands Drive on April 18 last year at 8.23pm.

Bibby, of Butterfield Park, 'fervently denied' being the driver of the van, stating it was in fact her then-boyfriend Ben Chappell, who denies this was the case.

Hannah Squire, prosecuting, said: "The front wall and window of Mrs Woodier's house were all destroyed in the collision.

"Debris and masonry were strewn throughout and she was in the front room when she was killed by the falling masonry.

"Bibby was driving that van which crashed in to the front of the house and was driving dangerously."

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Bibby had been disqualified from driving in 2016 for three years.

Ms Squire added: "Mr Chappell and Bibby had spent the day together. They had things to do in Portishead and had come back to Clevedon and went to the Old Inn and then continued on to the Crab Apple pub.

"They had a drink at the pub. The card machine was not working. She went to the cash point to Asda.

"She took Mr Chappell's keys, got into the van and drove to the cash point. She took money out and came back to the pub."

The jury was shown CCTV footage of Bibby driving and parking the van at the front of the pub, but only her legs were visible as she climbed out the driver's side before leaving at 8.15pm.

Ms Squire continued: "This is where the Crown and defence diverge. The Crown says it is Bibby who drives away from the pub.

"She gets into the driver's side of the van and Mr Chappell gets in the passenger's side."

The court heard a witness saw Bibby sat in the driver's seat before the van pulled away.

But Bibby said her and Mr Chappell had 'switched seats once in the van'.

Ms Squire said no-one in the van had been wearing seatbelts and the driving was 'out of control'.

She added: "As she drives along the road, she was driving like a racing car driver, winding the car and 'warming the tyres'.

"At the point she was moving the wheel; she lost control of the van and the traction.

"The car was out of control as a result of the manner of driving and the inexperience of Bibby.

"The van shot forward, right into the house.

"There is no evidence to suggest it braked prior to hitting wall.

"Mr Chappell believes Bibby put her foot on the accelerator."

A road-side breath test was carried out and found Bibby was not over the drink-drive limit.

Police calculated the van's speed was 31-40mph. The road is 30mph, but 20mph is advised.

The trial continues and is expected to last three weeks.