Truck driver recalls moment of crash that killed girl

UPDATE 1.50pm: A TRUCK driver who witnessed a fatal crash that killed four-year-old Elle Underhill described seeing a cloud of "red dust" moments before a maroon sedan collided with an oncoming car.

Paul Lavis was the first of three witnesses called to give evidence at the committal hearing of Casino babysitter Courteney Matthews, who was driving the maroon Mazda 323.

Sitting in the backseats of the Mazda were Elle Underhill and her younger sister Elaina.

Mr Lavis told the court he was travelling "about a kilometre" or less behind the Mazda as it approached a bend on the Bruxner Highway between Casino and Lismore.

The court heard the car caught his attention moments before the collision because of the red dust, which indicated the Mazda was skirting the edge of the road and gouging dirt into the air.

Seconds later the car then tracked over to the right, into the path of oncoming traffic.

Matthews, 19, was present in the courtroom, represented by her solicitor Monique Hannigan and barrister Simon Buchen.

During a brief cross-examination of Mr Lavis, Mr Buchen questioned whether the truck driver was "sitting there studying" the crash, or "just caught a glimpse".

He also noted that the accident happened on a bend where there was "heavy patching" due to recent roadworks, and some of the reflector lights were missing.

Mr Lavis said he believed the area where the crash occurred had previously had a temporary speed limit of 60kmh due to the roadworks but the signs had recently been removed as the roadworks had been completed.

Magistrate Michael Dakin excused the witness before adjourning for lunch.

The evidence from two more witnesses is expected after 2pm.


FRIDAY 8.35am: THREE witnesses to a crash near Casino which killed a four-year-old girl will be called to give evidence this morning in Casino Local Court at the committal hearing of Courteney Pearl Matthews.

Matthews, 19, is charged with dangerous driving occasioning death, dangerous driving occasioning grievous bodily harm, negligent driving occasioning death, and negligent driving occasioning grievous bodily harm.

The charges relate to a crash on December 18, 2015, in which the Mazda 323 sedan Matthews was driving on the Bruxner Highway between Lismore and Casino with three child passengers was involved in a head-on collision.

One of the child passengers, four-year-old Elle Underhill, was killed as a result of the crash.

Matthews was babysitting the children at the time.

At the committal hearing the sitting Magistrate is required to rule on whether the matter has sufficient evidence to proceed to a trial or sentencing.

Ms Matthews has yet to enter a plea.

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