Crash driver: I wasn t on phone

A young man has admitted using his mobile phone while driving in the lead-up to a car accident that almost killed his passenger.

But Harley Michael Burridge denied he had his phone in his hand when he crashed into a horse on Albany Highway in July 2011.

Mr Burridge was driving from Perth to Albany with Claremont footballer Warrick Proudlove when he hit a runaway horse near Mt Barker.

Mr Proudlove's parents Kevin and Trish Proudlove are suing Mr Burridge over the crash that left their son unable to speak and needing full-time care.

In the District Court yesterday, Mr Burridge said while he was driving to Albany he held his phone to his ear and spoke to his friend Kieran Forrester.

Phone records show the pair also exchanged text messages during the journey, but the 20-year-old said he could not remember the content of the messages. "I made contact, but during the time of the accident there was no mobile phone use at all," Mr Burridge said.

Mr Burridge spoke to Mr Forrester after he spotted him in the Shire of Williams and realised he was also travelling to Albany with friends.

In a recorded interview with police, Mr Burridge said he had asked Mr Proudlove to send Mr Forrester a text message after he saw him.

Under cross-examination yesterday, he admitted Mr Proudlove was not involved in any of the communication between him and Mr Forrester.

Mr Burridge told the court he did not knowingly lie to police and said he could not remember every detail of the night.

"I don't know how you expect me to remember absolutely every little fine detail after something so horrific happened," he said. "I don't believe I made it up with the intention to hide anything."

Last week, witness Susan Tremayne told the court she was standing on the road trying to wave down Mr Burridge before the crash.

She said her car was parked to the side of the road, her hazard lights were on and she waved her arms in the air when he drove past.

The West Australian

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