Death crash teenage driver banned

A TEENAGE driver who was behind the wheel of a car during a crash that claimed the life of her 18-year-old friend has been banned from driving for three months.

A TEENAGE driver who was behind the wheel of a car during a crash that claimed the life of her 18-year-old friend has been banned from driving for three months.

Stephanie Potter, 18, of Queensgate Drive, Ipswich, pleaded guilty to driving without due care and attention at South East Suffolk Magistrates' Court on Friday in relation to the accident.

Her friend Sophie Underwood, from Ipswich, died following the three-car collision on Foxhall Road outside the waste recycling centre on November 13 last year.

Today, Miss Underwood's father, Alex Underwood, said he hoped his daughter's friend can now put the accident behind her.

He said: “I understand the Crown Prosecution Service wanted to prosecute. I do not blame Stephanie though. It was quite clearly an accident that had terrible consequences. It is a terrible ordeal for an 18-year-old to go through especially with a court case on top. I hope Steph can get on with her life now.”

As well as a three-month ban, Potter was handed a £100 fine by magistrates.

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The court heard that Potter was driving along Foxhall Road with Miss Underwood as a passenger when she took a bend too quickly.

Andrea Reynolds, prosecuting, said: “She clipped the kerb, which caused her car to veer on to the other carriageway and collide with a vehicle.”

Another car then ploughed in to the side of Potter's vehicle, hitting the passenger side.

Ms Reynolds said during police interview Potter claimed she “must have gone too close to the kerb”.

The court heard the pair were close friends and despite witness suggestions that Potter's car was travelling between 65mph and 70mph on the 60mph limit road, crash investigators found no evidence the speed limit had been exceeded.

Ms Reynolds said investigators did, however, conclude that the car had taken the bend too quickly.

Besides the £100 fine Potter was told to pay a victim surcharge of £15.

Miss Underwood went to Bell Lane Primary School in Kesgrave before moving to Broke Hall Primary in Ipswich.

She attended Copleston High School and later completed her AS levels at Copleston Sixth Form.

She was employed as a ball girl for three years at Ipswich Town Football Club where she worked at the England versus Croatia international match at Portman Road in 2003.

Have you been affected by a road accident? Write to Your Letters, Evening Star, 30 Lower Brook Street, Ipswich, IP4 1AN or e-mail eveningstarletters@eveningstar.co.uk