Careless driver hit lorry and overturned his car in ‘frightening’ crash on M5 near Worcester

A DRIVER who hit a lorry and overturned his car in a “frightening” crash on the M5 that seriously injured his passenger has been found guilty of careless driving. Ian Fry denied the more serious charge of causing serious injury by dangerous driving and was found not guilty of that offence, but guilty of careless driving by a jury at Worcester Crown Court[1]. Matthew Barnes, prosecuting, said the 45-year-old was driving back to his home in South Wales from a meeting in Coventry when the accident happened on the afternoon of May 11 last year between junctions 7 (Worcester south) and 8 (M50) southbound on the M5.

He had passed Strensham service station and was intending to exit on the M50 slip road when his rented Vauxhall Astra drifted from the middle lane into the slow lane and hit the rear of a lorry. A vehicle following behind filmed the crash on a dashboard camera and the jury was shown footage of the car hitting the lorry at around 60mph. It flipped onto its roof and was sent spinning round into the middle lane.

Mr Barnes said the accident was “a frightening sight.” Front seat passenger and work colleague Christopher Murray was seriously injured in the crash, the jury was told. He had been asleep and woke up to find he was suspended by his seatbelt and the roof of the car was below him, Mr Barnes said.

He suffered a fractured skull and facial injuries and was only able to consider a return to work as a BT Openreach control team leader in January this year. Fry was his line manager and they had travelled to the meeting together. An air ambulance was called to the scene to free Mr Murray, who, Mr Barnes said, had further suffered psychological damage..

Mr Barnes said the prosecution believed Fry had fallen asleep at the wheel. He had got up at 5.30am in Betwas, Ammanford, Dyfed, and picked up Mr Murray before driving 160 miles to the meeting which lasted from 10am to 4pm. He represented himself in the trial and told the jury he had driven the route before.

He said he was aware that the exit for the M50 was shortly after Strensham and he wanted to be ready to move across but he could not remember anything immediately before or after the collision. He told the jury he must have suffered a momentary lapse of concentration. Recorder Peter Coke fined him ?500 for the offence and gave him five penalty points but no disqualification.

He was also ordered to pay ?85 towards costs.

“I think you are very sad about what happened to your work colleague as a result of this collision,” he said to Fry.

References

  1. ^ Worcester Crown Court (www.worcesternews.co.uk)

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