THE driver of the car which ran over teenager Andrew Bornen shed tears yesterday as she told the Ipswich Coroner’s Court she did not realise there was a person lying on the road until it was too late.
Jennifer Hind was driving home along Albion Street, Brassall – her nine-month-old son asleep in the back – on the night of February 7 last year.
She was called to give evidence yesterday, in the second day of a coronial inquest into the 16-year-old’s death in custody.
Responding to a report that a youth had been seen wielding a machete in the area, Senior Constables Anthony Brett and Robert Ward had ordered Mr Bornen to lie face down on the road and had handcuffed his hands behind his body.
Several witnesses to the incident said that within seconds, Ms Hind’s car had approached from the north.
One of the officers signalled toward her but was unable to prevent the vehicle from hitting Mr Bornen.
An emotional Ms Hind yesterday told the court she had been visiting her ex-partner in Haig Street, Brassall that night.
As she left the Haig Street address, she had headed south along Hunter Street, checking her speedometer as she entered Albion Street and noting that she was travelling about 55kmh.
“The next thing I remember is seeing a man waving his hands at me,” Ms Hind said.
“It sort of distracted me because he was off a little bit to the right.
“I didn’t know what to think at the time – I didn’t know what he wanted me to do.”
In what she described as a split second later, Ms Hind’s Nissan Pulsar hit “a black mass on the road” which she would later learn was a handcuffed Andrew Bornen.
When asked if she knew the man waving at her was a police officer, Ms Hind told the court the person was in plain clothes and she did not remember seeing flashing red and blue lights.
“To me, it could have been anybody,” she said.
Ms Hind said she was not using a mobile phone or adjusting her radio at the time of the incident.
Among the other witnesses to give evidence yesterday was Albion Street resident Robert McElwaine, who watched from his front balcony as the two police officers made the arrest.
Mr McElwaine said he had gone onto his front deck after seeing Mr Bornen walking on the traffic island in the middle of his street.
“Then this vehicle stopped next to him and somebody got out,” he told the court.
“They said ‘stop, we are the police, we have tasers on you’.
“I distinctly remember seeing the two red dots on the young man’s back.”
Mr McElwaine said Mr Bornen had put his arms out to either side in a surrendering pose, causing a cylindrical object to fall from his clothing.
The two officers had handcuffed the teenager on the road and, moments later, Ms Hind’s car approached.
“I saw a policeman move toward the car with his hand up – he was saying ‘stop, stop, stop’,” Mr McElwaine said.
Outside the court, Mr Bornen’s mother, Helen Donaldson, said she did not blame the young driver.
“After the police handcuffed him, why didn’t they lift him straight up? It’s a very busy road,” she said.
The inquest, before Chief Coroner Michael Barnes, continues today, with Senior Constables Brett and Ward scheduled to give evidence tomorrow.