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RAF Lakenheath servicewoman Mikayla Hayes weeps in Norwich court and says she has ‘no idea’ how she did not see Matthew Day’s motorbike on A10 at Southery

A US servicewoman wept in court and said she had no idea why she did not see a motorcyclist who crashed into her car and died when she pulled out of a side road and across his path.

Airman first class Mikayla Hayes’ voice cracked with emotion as she told Norwich Crown Court: “I still to this day have no idea why I didn’t see that motorcycle.”

The 25-year-old, dressed in a white shirt and dark blazer, said “I’m so sorry” before sobbing when her barrister Christine Agnew KC asked her about motorcyclist Matthew Day, who died of his injuries.

Mikayla Hayes is on trial accused of causing death by careless driving. Picture: PA
Mikayla Hayes is on trial accused of causing death by careless driving. Picture: PA

Hayes was handed a box of tissues by the court usher and wiped tears from her eyes, before the judge asked her if she needed a short break.

The defendant had been turning right, towards her home in Downham, as she travelled back from RAF Lakenheath in Suffolk where she worked, when the crash happened.

She emerged from the B1160 Lynn Road across the path of 33-year-old Matthew Day as he travelled south along the A10 at Southery on August 26 last year.

Matthew Day was killed in the crash. Picture: Family handout/PA
Matthew Day was killed in the crash. Picture: Family handout/PA

The father-of-one’s Yamaha motorbike struck her Honda Accord and he died of his injuries later that day.

Hayes denies causing Mr Day’s death by careless driving.

She told jurors: “I believe I’m a very careful driver and I kept looking for traffic both ways and I don’t know why I didn’t see him that day.”

Questioned by Ms Agnew, Hayes said she was married and her husband, parents and friends were in the public gallery at the court.

She said she was originally from Indiana and was stationed at RAF Lakenheath, where she works as an aerospace ground equipment mechanic, working on equipment associated with jets such as generators, heaters and tow bars.

Hayes said she joined the US Air Force in 2021 having previously attended two separate universities, although she did not finish either degree.

She said she completed her basic and technical training in Texas and had put England at the top of her “dream sheet” of locations where she wanted to work.

“I always dreamed of coming here,” she said.

She said she married in December 2021 and arrived in the UK in April 2022, with her husband initially working as a teaching assistant “at the elementary school on the base, but isn’t currently employed”.

She said she was not offered accommodation on the base, with couples with children prioritised.

She got accommodation in Downham, which she said is a 35-minute journey from the base on a good day.

Hayes said she got her full US driver’s licence aged 16, and after moving to the UK she passed a written test about the highway code.

She said she had received a speeding ticket in the US for being five miles per hour over the limit, and was involved in two incidents – one when a deer ran in front of her car, writing it off, and a separate minor collision with an SUV at a shopping mall.

She told her barrister that neither collision was put down to being her fault.

Hayes said she stopped driving after the collision on August 26 until May of this year, adding: “I was terrified – I had traumatic visions in my mind of driving and I do not want to hurt anyone.”

She said she found the junction “intimidating”.

“There’s a lot to look at,” she said.

“There’s traffic coming from left, two lanes to the right, occasionally the farm track though it’s very rarely used.”

She said that traffic that Friday, at the start of the August bank holiday weekend, was “heavier than normal”.

She said she did not see the motorbike until it was “about a second (away), five to six feet in front of me”.

She told Ms Agnew there was nothing she could do to avoid the collision.

Asked if she had been arrested before, she told her barrister: “No mam.”

“I was absolutely terrified, I had never gotten in trouble before,” she said.

She was taken from the crash scene to hospital in Lynn, then into custody, and she was not bailed until a hearing the following Thursday, with conditions to remain in the UK and surrender her travel documents.

Ms Agnew asked her: “Did it ever cross your mind to try to leave the UK?”

Hayes replied: “No mam.”

The trial continues.

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