Paltrow’s ‘hit-and-run’ ski crash trial: ‘Hysterical scream’ sounded like ‘King Kong came out of the jungle’

After seven years of legal battles, actress and wellness guru Gwyneth Paltrow is now in court over an alleged “hit-and-run” ski crash that purportedly left a retired optometrist with brain damage while the Oscar winner adamantly denies it was her fault.

(Video Credit: TODAY)

The accident took place at the exclusive Deer Valley ski resort in Utah as skiers lined up to partake in perfect conditions on the slopes.

Retired optometrist Terry Sanderson was skiing with his friends on the beginner’s run “Bandana” in February of 2016. The quietness of the resort would soon be shattered by a “hysterical scream” that sounded like “King Kong came out of the jungle,” according to the Daily Mail.

Sanderson claims the scream came from Paltrow descending the slope as she lost control and plowed into the 69-year-old optometrist. She reportedly hit him so hard that he had broken ribs and permanent brain damage after the collision. He asserts that the clash was “harder than I’ve ever been hit.”

Paltrow denies those claims.

The events of that day are now being played out in court. Paltrow appeared anxious and embarrassed over the whole ordeal. The trial began on Monday and is expected to last eight days.

Originally, Sanderson sought $3.1 million in damages but a judge denied that claim saying that he could not call it a “hit-and-run” ski crash. He is now seeking $300,000 in compensation for “permanent traumatic brain injury, four broken ribs, pain, suffering, loss of enjoyment of life, emotional distress, and disfigurement.” He has also accused Paltrow, 50, of having “accepted no responsibility” for her role in the incident.

Paltrow’s attorney told the court she, her husband, Brad Falchuk, and children, Apple, 18, and Moses, 16, are willing to testify in the case that it was not Paltrow’s fault.

Lawrence Buhler, Sanderson’s lawyer told the court that the actress “bolted” down the mountain following the collision. He also asserted that Paltrow was not paying attention at the time of the incident and was, instead, watching her children ski.

“The children and their two instructors ski to the left. Ms. Paltrow skis down to the right, she turns her head up to look at her children. As she turns her head back down she screams and skis into the back of Terry Sanderson,” the attorney charged.

“Distracted skiers cause crashes. Defendant Gwyneth Paltrow …knew that if she continued to ski that way, if she kept looking up to the side, someone would get seriously hurt. She knew what she was doing was dangerous and she knew it was reckless,” he added.

“Ms. Paltrow has been skiing since she was three years old, she considers herself an intermediate skier. She has skied about a half a dozen times at Deer Valley ski resort,” Buhler told the court.

Paltrow has filed a countersuit against Sanderson’s allegations and is suing for attorney fees as well. Sanderson allegedly has vision and hearing loss as a result of a previous stroke and she is claiming he caused the collision, hitting her from behind and causing her to sustain a “full body blow.”

Paltrow’s attorney, Stephen Owens, stated in court this week that Sanderson had been making wide turns across the slope and had his back turned when he hit the actress, his skis appearing between her legs before the pair crashed to the ground.

Sanderson flagged down the Ski Patrol after the incident telling them he was injured and needed help getting down the mountain.

Owens recounted that Paltrow shouted, “What the f***!” at Sanderson as she lay sprawled. Her son Moses later said he had never seen his mother so upset.

The attorney claimed that Paltrow skied down the mountain to meet her husband after being told she could leave by ski instructor Eric Christiansen and the Ski Patrol.

He proceeded to show the jury an email that allegedly was sent by Sanderson to his daughters after the accident that included a link to a Facebook status that declared “I’m famous!”

Owens told the court, “Gwyneth was hurt by his [Sanderson] negligence. She’s hurt, she’s sore, it rattled her.”

Sanderson claims he waited to sue Paltrow for almost three years because of legal issues and a prolonged concussion from the collision.

The optometrist’s friend who was in his group that day, Craig Ramon, testified that Sanderson fell face-first into the snow with Paltrow landing on his back. He stated she quickly rolled off him.

Sanderson asserts he was knocked unconscious for five to ten minutes, “I remember feeling sore, my ribs were really sore. And my brain felt like it had been injected with Novocaine. It was just numb.”

He went on to state that he had no idea where he was when he came to, “And that’s when the ski [instructor] that was there, that I really thought was there to help, he left.”

“We were skiing down the run and then I heard this scream. I looked over and I see this skier just slam into the back of Terry. She slammed him. Very hard. She hit him directly in the back. The tips of his skis go out and he goes face down, spread-eagled, with Gwyneth on top of him. There was about a second or two,” Ramon testified.

“Terry stops, then Gwyneth slid down to the right side. She bounced off of him,” he added.

As Sanderson lay in the snow, Paltrow’s ski instructor Eric Christiansen arrived and “started yelling at Sanderson,” Ramon claimed. He then commented that Paltrow didn’t respond to questions about whether she was OK as she struggled to her feet and skied away, followed by the rest of her group.

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