Lorry driver jailed after killing driver of broken down van on A47

Norwich Crown Court. PICTURE: Jamie Honeywood

Norwich Crown Court. PICTURE: Jamie Honeywood - Credit: Archant

A lorry driver ploughed into a broken down van on the A47 killing the driver, who was sitting inside the vehicle, a court heard.

Igors Salmins, 51, failed to see the van parked on the roadside at Tilney St Lawrence, near King’s Lynn, despite Ricards Saputko, 59, having warning hazard lights on, and there being good visibility, Norwich Crown Court heard.

Chris Youell, prosecuting, said for some reason Salmins failed to see the van and his lorry ploughed into the back causing Mr Saputko to be ejected from the vehicle. He suffered serious brain injury and died later that day.

Mr Youell said that section of the A47 where the accident happened had no hard shoulder.

“He drove straight into the back of that vehicle, which was there to be seen.”

He read out a victim impact statement from Mr Saputko’s wife, Irina, who described him as a “loving and supportive” husband, who was always the first person to help others. She said she missed him every day.

Salmins, of Elm High Road, Wisbech, who had the help of a Russian interpreter, admitted causing the death of Mr Saputko by careless driving on January 28, 2018.

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Jailing him for eight months, Judge Anthony Bate said the loss to Mr Saputko’s family could in no way equate to any sentence the court could impose and said how his wife spoke movingly about the loss of her husband.

He said: “The loss is beyond measure.”

He told Salmins: “You were not paying proper attention to the road ahead of you. You completely failed to see his broken down vehicle.”

He added that his reaction had been far too late to avoid the accident.

Judge Bate also imposed an 18 month driving ban.

Hugh Vass, for Salmins, said: “Nothing will bring back Mr Saputko. Whatever sentence will be scant solace to his widow and daughter.”

He said that there were no aggravating features such as Salmins using a mobile phone.

Mr Vass said: “He has lost his job and as a result he won’t be able to work ever again as a HGV driver.”

He added: ”For a matter of a few seconds the defendant for whatever reason did not take appropriate action and did not notice the vehicle until it was too late.”

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