The passenger in the car that hit and killed Libby Ruge has told a jury he feared he would not get home.
Nilesh Mishra, 37, told Wollongong District Court on the night of November 7, 2020, he was sitting in the backseat of a car driven by Jaskaran Singh with Apran Sharma in the passenger seat.
Jaskaran Singh, 19, is currently fighting charges of driving occasioning death and grievous bodily harm and not rendering assistance at the scene of the crash.
Mr Mishra said Singh and Sharma picked him up in Sharma's silver Toyota Camry from his accommodation at Kooloobong Village student accommodation in Keiraville and took him to a party at Sharma's house on George Street in Wollongong.
At about 10 in the evening the pair offered to take Mr Mishra home from the party.
Mr Mishra said Singh drove Sharma's car because Sharma was drunk. Mr Mishra also said Singh drove the car in a manner which Mr Mishra said led him to believe he was not a good driver.
"I was very uncomfortable throughout the trip because he [Singh] is not a good driver," he said.
Singh and Sharma, who was sitting in the front passenger seat, were then speaking in Punjabi, a language Mr Mishra does not understand, and playing Punjabi music loudly while dancing in their seats.
Mr Mishra said on Burelli Street Singh overtook another vehicle and then near the corner of Keira Street the car skidded.
CCTV footage of the car on the night showed the car on Burelli Street overtaking another vehicle pulling into the left hand parking lane, and crossing the double white lines.
Turning right onto Keira Street, the car travelled past revellers celebrating the end of restrictions. Mr Mishra said when the car was outside a row of restaurants on Keira Street, Sharma wound down the window and yelled out to passers by in Punjabi.
Going past the Illawarra Hotel on the corner of Church Street, Mr Mishra said the car "skidded" again and he saw Sharma's hand on the handbrake.
Mr Mishra told Wollongong District Court it was at this point he asked Sharma and Singh to drive carefully.
"I felt a jerk, and I said, 'What are you guys doing?' Arpan said, 'Don't worry you'll be fine,'" Mr Mishra recalled.
CCTV footage played to the court showed the car slowing down and smoke coming out of the rear back wheels of the car while the rear brake lights were not on. Senior Constable Erin Cordina of the southern crash investigation unit said this showed the handbrake being applied.
Mr Mishra said over the course of the journey, Sharma became more agitated, raising his voice at Singh.
"They were playing loud Punjabi music and they were trying to be silly, they were laughing, yelling at people, they were very loud," he said.
The vehicle continued north on Keira Street coming up to the intersection with Flinders Street and Smith Street.
Bystanders told Wollongong District Court they heard the car revving and skidding as it crossed the intersection heading towards the Collegians Club on Flinders Street. Tabitha Brown said she was walking on the night with her then boyfriend Matthew Turnbull from the Illawarra Hotel after watching the football.
"I heard a car skidding around the corner, coming from Smith St and turned to look at it," Ms Brown said.
Ms Brown said she and Mr Turnbull then watched the car as it travelled down Flinders Street before mounting the footpath.
"I saw it skidding across the two lanes then out of the lanes on the left-hand side of the road, as it came around the corner and came up onto the footpath," she said.
Other witnesses described a similar sequence of events, with Steven Davis describing what occurred as the car lost control and what he believed to be the rear wheels locking up as the car's handbrake was pulled.
"It sounded to me like a lock-up, and it sounded like the longest lock-up I've ever heard."
Then, Mr Davis described the moment when tragedy struck.
"I saw something get hit, fly through the air, my split second reaction was a dog, and then, within milliseconds I knew I hadn't seen a dog get hit," he said.
Mr Davis was one of the bystanders who called 000 as soon as they realised what happened.
After the vehicle crashed into a telegraph pole, witnesses saw a man get out of the driver's seat and leave the scene. Zachary Stuart said he was walking towards the Collegians club as a man came towards him.
"As I was walking down towards the front of Collegians club a gentleman ran past me in the same direction as I was coming from," he said.
In body worn camera footage played to the court, police are seen to be questioning Sharma after he exits the vehicle.
With blood running down his forehead, Sharma calls Singh on behalf of police and tells Singh to return to the crime scene.
Other body-worn camera footage shows police arresting Singh at the scene, who complains of suffering an anxiety attack immediately after the collision and ongoing pain around the head and neck.
At the scene, Singh is shown sitting in front of a police car, holding his head in his hands. He asks the police if what had just occurred will affect his studies and if he will go to jail.
The officer said he's not able to say yet.
The trial continues.
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