A motorist who killed his passenger while allegedly racing with three other drivers has admitted causing death by careless driving but told a court he can remember nothing of the crash.
Keelan Tuke was aged 19 when he clipped a kerb and hit another car during what the Crown claim was a high-speed race on the A16 in Utterby, Lincolnshire, on October 26 2021, killing 20-year-old Denii Reynolds.
Tuke, now 21, denies causing death by dangerous driving but pleaded guilty to causing death by careless driving immediately before he began giving his evidence to a jury at Lincoln Crown Court on Monday.
Asked by his counsel, Adam Pearson, to describe the day of the crash, Tuke said he went to work between 8am and 4pm, and had then driven to a boating lake in Cleethorpes, before deciding to go to Louth in his Citroen C1 with other drivers.
After arriving in Louth with Denii as his front-seat passenger, Tuke said he filled up his car with petrol at a Shell garage.
Telling Mr Pearson he could not recall any suggestion of “racing back” or having any intent to race, Tuke said his next memory after leaving the garage was waking up in hospital in an induced coma three days later.
Tuke suffered an open arm fracture, nerve damage, fractures to both thighs and lost part of his spleen.
Asked when he had discovered that Denii had died, Tuke told the jury: “As soon as I woke up on the Friday. I was really upset, I was full of emotions.”
Under cross-examination from prosecutor Jeremy Janes, Tuke said: “I can’t remember from leaving the roundabout … I just take responsibility for what has happened – for her death.”
During Tuke’s evidence it was put to him that he was driving at 89mph, and made clear that the law classes driving as careless if it falls below the standard of a careful and competent driver, but as dangerous if it falls far below the standard.
Mr Janes then asked Tuke: “You in your C1 are doing 40-plus miles an hour over the speed limit. That’s very much above it. Would you agree with me driving in that way would be considered well below the standard of an ordinary competent driver?”
Tuke, of Grafton Street, Grimsby, answered: “Yes.”
Asked about dashcam footage which has been shown to the jury, Tuke denied that it looked “like a race” – instead claiming it was vehicles “just driving fast and close together”.
In re-examination by his own barrister, Tuke said he was accepting by his guilty plea that mounting a kerb had fallen below the standard of a careful driver.
Mr Pearson asked Tuke: “If you were doing those sorts of speeds – 89mph – that would be dangerous?”
Tuke responded: “Yes.”
He was then asked if he knew whether he was driving at such high speeds and whether he knew his driving was dangerous or not, answering: “No, I do not.”
Tuke’s three co-defendants, all from North East Lincolnshire, deny charges of causing death by dangerous driving and causing death by careless driving. The trial continues.