The West

Crash GP denies she took phone call
Claim denied: Dr Christine Caffrey leaves Perth Magistrate's Court. Picture: Ben Crabtree/The West Australian

A doctor has denied answering a mobile phone call in her car in the seconds before she ploughed into the back of Coles delivery truck, severing the leg of driver Matthew Chapman.

Western suburbs GP Christine Caffrey told Perth Magistrate's Court yesterday how she saw a "shape" on the side of Vincent Street in Nedlands one evening last August and immediately slammed on her brakes.

But it did not prevent her Subaru crashing into Mr Chapman, 32, and his truck with such force that his left leg was all but severed and had to be amputated.

Dr Caffrey is accused of dangerous driving causing grievous bodily harm, with prosecutors pointing to mobile phone records showing calls to and from her daughter in the seconds before the 000 call was received by emergency authorities.

The 52-year-old denied she had touched her phone while driving from her Dalkeith surgery, saying it had rung while on the passenger seat of her car but she had not answered.

"I never answered the phone," Dr Caffrey said.

"I thought the car was almost stopped - but I hit him with a thud."

The doctor emotionally described how she saw a big puddle of blood behind the truck and realised that the artery in Mr Chapman's leg had been severed.

She applied tourniquets with towels and helped ambulance officers at the scene.

"When I felt his leg with my hands, I could tell it was a very serious injury to his left leg," Dr Caffrey said. "I was shocked because I thought I had just tipped into him."

Prosecutors told Magistrate Michael Wheeler that phone records showed Dr Caffrey had phoned her 16-year-old daughter Niamh at 7.15pm on August 8.

Forty-five seconds later, Niamh phoned her back. And 24 seconds after that, the 000 call was made by a witness to the accident.

Prosecutors claimed it was the calls to and from Dr Caffrey's iPhone that distracted her so much that she failed to see the Coles truck, with its back doors open and indicator lights on, parked on the side of the street.

All Dr Caffrey described seeing was a big shape in the left-hand lane, which she realised was a truck, then a man standing behind it.

"He was standing looking at me on my side of the car," she said.

The trial continues.

The West Australian

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