A MAN accused of causing the death of schoolgirl Natalia Wiley has denied he was racing another motorist moments before the crash which killed her.
Daniel Jeminson, 21, yesterday told York Crown Court he was not pursuing Robert Turnbull at speeds of 80mph on the A170 between Scarborough and Pickering when Turnbull overturned his car.
Natalia, 15, died instantly of head injuries.
Robert Turnbull, 18, who was Natalia’s boyfriend, has already admitted causing death by dangerous driving after rolling his Vauxhall Corsa near Snainton in January.
Jeminson, 21, of Kirkbymoorside, said Turnbull had been driving “like an idiot” and had tried to overtake him in the face of an oncoming car before swerving off the road and up an embankment.
On the third day of the trial, Jeminson said although he had left the scene because he had not felt he was responsible and there was anything he could do.
He said he would never race or put himself or anyone else in danger. The court previously heard from witnesses who described seeing the two cars travelling at high speed, with one man saying Jeminson was driving “like a bat out of hell”.
However, he told the court he was on his way from his home to see his girlfriend in Seamer in his white Ford Fiesta ST when he had come up behind Turnbull’s car as it slowed to allow a car to turn left.
He said he had been overtaking Turnbull’s car when he heard the engine revving and got the impression it was accelerating to try and prevent him from getting back on the correct side of the road.
Jeminson said Turnbull was so close behind him he could hear the engine but not see the headlights.
On the approach to Snainton, he said that he saw the other car move out but then move back in as he saw an oncoming vehicle.
Jeminson told the court he never saw or heard anything else but stopped in the village “out of curiosity, rather than any guilt” and turned around and went back to see what had happened.
He said: “A car just doesn’t disappear like that.”
At the crash scene, Jeminson, who is a groundsman for Kirkbymoorside cricket team, said he saw the upturned Corsa and Turnbull was crouched over and looking into the vehicle.
He said he asked Turnbull “what he thought he was playing at” and then recognised him as a person he had met only once previously.
He said Turnbull apologised to him and told him that his girlfriend was still in the car and that he could not see her.
Hen then left the scene and drove to his girlfriend’s home before returning to the scene with her mother to tell the police what he had seen.
Jeminson, who works for his father’s building firm, added he passed his driving test in June 2007 and had owned four cars of his own since, without picking up any points on his licence.
He told the jury he had, in the past, been in an accident on a motorway which was not his fault, but which had shocked him and made him think twice about speeding.
Jeminson denies death by dangerous driving.
The trial continues.