Norfolk lorry driver jailed for causing death of man in motorway pile-up
PUBLISHED: 13:33 20 February 2018 | UPDATED: 08:07 21 February 2018
Adrian Penniston/ Cavendish Press
A lorry driver who caused a motorway pile up which left one man dead has been jailed by a judge who told him HGV drivers had a "profound duty" to drive safely on the country's roads.
Adrian Penniston, 68, and, of Brookes Drive, North Walsham, was driving his 40 tonne articulated lorry along the M62 near Rochdale when he “forgot” about a Mercedes car to his left in the slow lane.
Without indicating Penniston swerved in from the middle lane causing his Iveco truck to clip the Mercedes, sending it spinning across all three lanes of the carriageway.
The car hit the central reservation before it flipped over onto the opposite carriageway and into the path of oncoming traffic, hitting another car before ploughing into two HGVs.
The Mercedes driver Darren Walmsley, 51, suffered multiple injuries and died at the scene. A couple in the other car suffered multiple fractures in the crash which occurred at 9.30am on July 4 2017.
Penniston admitted causing death by careless driving, His lawyer said in mitigation: “He has always been extremely sorry for his part and is genuinely devastated by the consequences. The consequences haunt him everyday and will continue to do so forever.
“When he saw what had happened he broke down and went into shock.
“He wasn’t overly tired and was concentrating on the road he was driving. He has been driving for 27 years as a professional driver and had a good driving record. He lives in rural north Norfolk and this driving ban will cause a great deal of hardship to him and his wife.”
But at Minshull Street Crown Court in Manchester on Monday Judge Stuart Driver QC condemned his driving as he jailed Penniston for six months and disqualified him from driving for two years and three months.
In sentencing the judge told Penniston: “You have a good driving record but a driver of a vehicle as large as yours on a motorway which is crowded means you have a clear and profound duty to avoid the risk of any collision.
“Darren Walmsley was a 51-year-old man who was loved by family and friends and respected in his community. The consequences of his death have been enormous.
“The value of his life cannot be measured and no sentence imposed by this court could ever seem appropriate. It was good driving conditions and you had that Mercedes vehicle in your sight for about 20 seconds but in that time it seems you forget it was there and failed to see it again. You also did not indicate as you changed lanes.
“Serious injury was caused to two other people who each suffered several fractures. At least two other vehicles were involved in the collision which must have caused at the very least shock and distress.”
At the time of Mr Walmsley’s death, his family from Milnrow, near Rochdale, paid tribute. They said: “Darren was a quiet, shy and unassuming man who was happiest in the company of his family and friends.”