Virginijus Sertvytis walks from court after being convicted of causing death of Arthur Jackson on M25
A lorry driver has walked free after he was convicted of causing the death of a car passenger on the M25 at the Darenth Interchange. Grandfather Arthur Jackson was thrown out of the car and landed in the middle lane as a result of Virginijus Sertvytis crashing into the rear of it.
The scene of the M25 crash The 46-year-old Lithuanian, who lives in Germany, was sentenced to 15 months imprisonment suspended for two years and banned from driving for five years.
Maidstone Crown Court head Mr Jackson, 78, was one of three passengers in a Mitsubishi Pajero driven by Michael Dougan, who were on their way to Dover for a shopping trip in Belgium in the early hours of February 11 last year. Married father-of-two Sertvytis, 46, was heading for the Eurotunnel terminal at Folkestone. CCTV footage showed the moments before the crash and the aftermath, but did not show the impact.
Prosecutor Dickon Reid said Sertvytis pulled into the middle lane to overtake a slow moving lorry in front of him. He hit the rear of the 4×4, sending it into a violent spin. The car hit the side of the trailer before spinning into the crash barrier.
Others, including Mr Dougan, were also injured. Mr Reid said Sertvytis made the manoeuvre to overtake when it was not safe to do so. The trucker denied the offence, claiming he stayed in the slow lane and the car wanted to pull into his lane.
He said as he was only about a kilometre from the Eurotunnel turning he had no intention of overtaking the lorry in front of him.
Road repairs being carried out after the M25 crash.
Picture: Highways England But another backseat passenger, Ruth Flynn, said the car was always in the middle lane. She said she saw the lorry indicating as if to pull out.
It happened so quickly, she said, that there was no time to tell the car driver to speed up. She described the lorry undertaking, then pulling out and hitting them, sideswiping the car. Mr Jackson, a former coal miner from Chesterfield, Derbyshire, suffered multiple injuries and died 15 days later from septicaemia.
Passing sentence, Judge David Griffith-Jones QC said: “This tragic incident was a result of a moment, albeit an extended moment, of carelessness on your part in which you caused your HGV to pull out from lane one and collide with the Mitsubishi in the middle lane. “Quite clearly, you were not showing the sort of attention to the road and others using it as you ought to have been. The overwhelming likelihood is you were intent on overtaking the lorry ahead of you.
“This was simply a failure on your part for a short period of time to give your driving the sort of attention that was required.”
He added Sertvytis had “quite forcefully” tried to blame the car driver.