A police officer has told of the “tragic and traumatic” moment he saw a couple “flying” through the air after being hit by a car.
Harry and Shirley Taggerty died at the scene at Glenrothes’ Riverside Park after being struck by a car driven by Liam McWatt on July 13 2019.
The High Court in Edinburgh heard they fell down an embankment at the side of the road.
McWatt, 24, of Leslie Mains, Leslie, Glenrothes, denies causing their deaths by dangerous driving.
Police officer Joseph Archer told the trial he was driving a van on the adjoining A911 Leslie Road when he witnessed a Ford Fiesta cross, before striking a couple walking along the pavement.
He said: “I could see the car away up ahead of us starting to veer into our carriageway.
“I could see the car was moving quite fast.
“It came right up on a pavement.
“It knocked down two pedestrians who were walking up that pavement.
“The pedestrians went flying into the air into a tree bush area and the car went into the air and flipped over.”
Pulling his marked van to a stop, he and colleague PC Ross Wilson raced to their aid.
PC Archer said: “I got out of the vehicle with PC Wilson and went down the embankment.
“There’s a slope and a path of about 2m (width) where the vehicle was upside down.
“I found the two pedestrians in a wooded area on the slope.
“The two pedestrians were both lying on their back.
“I started to check for any signs of life but found no signs of life.”
Turning his attention to the upside down car, PC Archer noted a member of the public, who identified himself as an off-duty paramedic, had arrived to help.
He said: “I said something to the effect of ‘is there anything we can do?’ and he said ‘no’.
“I then went over to where he was (at the car).
“The vehicle was on its roof and there was a male inside. He was sitting on the roof.
“First of all I asked him his name and he said it was Liam.
“He had a mark on his cheek like he had struck it. He was speaking fine at the time.
“He said he was going on holiday and asked where his phone was.”
‘Very tragic and very traumatic’
PC Archer said as McWatt appeared uninjured, officers helped him out of the driver’s door to an ambulance on the main road but he was not told about the Taggertys’ deaths.
He said: “He never questioned me – he was just going on about his holiday.”
Defence counsel Michael Meehan KC, asked if he recalled McWatt being told to remain in the vehicle by officers.
He said: “The passenger side door, if I recall, was where the bodies were positioned.
“He may have been instructed to come out of the driver’s door to avoid seeing the bodies.”
Asked if he recalled McWatt telling officers “I don’t know what happened – I must have blacked out”, he replied: “I believe those words might have been said” but later conceded he could not recall hearing them himself.
He said the incident was “very tragic and very traumatic”.
PC Wilson confirmed the details of the collision.
“The pedestrians were walking close to one another and they were male and female.
“The vehicle continued towards them and struck the pedestrians at quite a speed throwing them down a grass embankment into what is known as Riverside Park.
“The vehicle followed in the same direction out of view.”
He radioed for an ambulance.
Jurors heard a statement of evidence which has been agreed and “conclusively proved” at the start of the trial.
McWatt was the driver and “sole occupant” of the Ford Fiesta travelling westbound on Leslie Road between 10.05 and 10.15am when it struck Harry Taggerty, 61, and Shirley, 58.
Their lives were pronounced “extinct” at 10.22am.
McWatt provided a “negative” breath specimen at 11.05am and “no defects were found” on his vehicle which “could cause or contribute” to the collision.
McWatt is alleged to have caused the deaths by driving dangerously, while using a mobile phone and at excessive speed, entering the opposing carriageway into the path of oncoming vehicles, including the police van.
The charge states he mounted a grass verge, failing to take evasive action prior to striking the couple on the footpath before his car continued down an embankment, hit a tree and overturned.
The trial before Lord Scott continues.