BLACK ice patches could be found all along a main road where a drink-driving police officer is alleged to have lost control of his car and caused a crash which left his girlfriend with fatal injuries.
Taxi driver Elaine Singleton said that the A56 Manchester Road, near Ramsbottom, was ‘like a skating rink’ in the hours leading up to a collision with a stationary van, which claimed the life of Polish barmaid Justyna Stanczak.
Her boyfriend, PC Brendan Buggie, is on trial at Bradford Crown Court, accused of causing her death by careless driving while over the drink-drive limit.
The 39-year-old Greater Manchester Police tactical support unit officer, of Rochdale Road, Edenfield, denies the charge.
Mrs Singleton, the mother of Buggie’s ex-girlfriend Lucy Fox, had been driving her cab for Rammy Taxis around the town since 2.45pm on December 4.
Her firm had the contract for the Red Hall Hotel, on the A56, and she had seen the cond-itions gradually deteriorate as the day went on.
She said: “It was black ice, so the first couple of times I didn’t lose control, but I could feel the ice underneath my wheels, hence the reason why I slowed down.”
The prosecution alleges that Buggie, who had drunk six pints of bitter, should have taken the ‘treacherous’ conditions into account as he gave a lift home to Miss Stanczak, just after midnight on December 5.
The court heard that Mrs Singleton had contacted her daughter, who was Miss Stanczak’s best friend, when she saw her walking hand-in-hand with Buggie.
Texts were then exchanged between the couple and Miss Fox, which upset Miss Stanczak and led to Buggie offering to drive her home to Bury.
Another motorist, Mark Stembridge, who drove in the opposite direction along the A56 that night, said he could see ice on the road and reduced his speed to just over 20mph.
Interviewed by police after he was arrested, Buggie said he felt ‘quite fit to drive’ and said he had not been driving in excess of the 40mph speed limit.
The trial continues.