‘Race’ death crash: Driver accused of fleeing as teaching assistant lay dying

June Bryce-Stephen, who died in a colision on Halifax Road, Sheffield, in Feb 2010
June Bryce-Stephen, who died in a colision on Halifax Road, Sheffield, in Feb 2010

TWO drivers were racing each other on a busy dual carriageway in Sheffield when one of their cars smashed into another vehicle, killing a city teaching assistant, a court heard.

June Bryce-Stephen, aged 56, suffered fatal injuries in the horrific crash on Halifax Road in Wadsley Bridge, when her Nissan Micra was hit by 23-year-old Adam Cox’s silver Honda Civic sports car.

Simon Chevens

Simon Chevens

Seconds earlier, Sheffield Crown Court was told, Cox had been seen racing against fellow motorist Simon Chevens. The pair were travelling at ‘great speed’, weaving in and out of traffic, and following each other ‘bumper to bumper’.

Chevens, who is on trial accused of causing death by dangerous driving, fled the scene after witnessing the ‘carnage’ of the accident.

The 42-year-old had passed his driving test only two weeks before the crash.

Jurors were told Cox, of Oldfield Road, Stannington, had pleaded guilty to the same charge facing Chevens.

The collision happened as Miss Bryce-Stephen was crossing Halifax Road in her Nissan from Lyminster Road to turn right onto the opposite carriageway.

Andrew Hatton, prosecuting, told the court: “Miss Bryce-Stephen set off to do the manoeuvre, but so fast was Mr Cox that he came around the corner and appeared to have no real opportunity to avoid her.”

Mr Hatton said Cox may have braked, but too late to avoid hitting the driver’s side of Miss Bryce-Stephen’s car. She died at the scene from multiple injuries.

Miss Bryce-Stephen, from Hillsborough, was a support teacher at Hinde House secondary school in Sheffield.

“Mr Chevens was able to brake and take evasive action,” Mr Hatton said. “Having seen the collision ahead of him and the carnage it caused he left the scene.”

Witness Adrian Nicklin, a pizza delivery driver, told the court he was overtaken by Chevens’ bright orange Ford Focus after he set off from traffic lights near a railway bridge on Halifax Road, travelling away from Sheffield city centre.

He said Chevens and Cox were both driving “very fast”, adding: “It looked like they were having a race up the hill.

“The orange car was swerving in and out of the lanes.”

Mr Nicklin said the two cars then disappeared out of sight, before he rounded a corner and saw the aftermath of the crash, which happened at around 7.40pm on March 6 last year.

“I got to the top of the hill and there was smoke everywhere from the collision,” he added. Mr Hatton said: “They were racing each other dangerously and with no regard for what may be ahead of them.” Witness Joseph Bradshaw was also driving with his partner Amy Cox on the inside lane along Halifax Road when Chevens and Cox overtook him, Mr Hatton said. “The two cars passed them at considerable speed with loud engine noises, and had to come to a quick halt when a set of traffic lights turned to red, slamming on their brakes,” he told the court. Following his arrest two days after the crash, Chevens told police he was returning to his home on Wood Close, Chapeltown, on the night of the incident. He told officers he thought Cox had been trying to provoke him into a race, revving his engine when they stopped at traffic lights.

Chevens claimed he kept to the 40mph speed limit and flashed his lights at Cox, “to let him know he was an idiot”.

The trial continues.