HGV Driver jailed for causing two deaths in M1 collision

An HGV driver has been jailed today (19 October 2020) for causing two deaths through careless driving. Prezemyslaw Szuba, 40, has been imprisoned for  ten months  at Sheffield Crown Court.  He was also disqualified from driving for four years and ordered to take an extended re-test. On 7 June 2019, Szuba was driving his HGV on the northbound carriageway of the M1 in South Yorkshire when he collided with a transit van and a Ford Focus.

Two men, Jason Mercer and Alexandru Murgeanu were killed instantly. The transit van and Ford Focus were stationary at the side of the road.  They had been involved in a minor road traffic collision moments earlier and both drivers had pulled over to exchange details. At the time of the incident the motorway was open and all four lanes were subject to the national speed limit of 70 mph.

Weather conditions were dry and fine. The vehicles were stationary for almost six minutes, during which time they were seen and avoided by many drivers, who all safely passed them. By contrast, Szuba did not adjust his speed or road position and continued to drive in the same lane until the fatal collision, which propelled the van and the Ford Focus 31 metres along the carriageway.

The forensic collision investigator concluded that, while both drivers breached the Highway Code by not moving to the hard shoulder area, the primary responsibility lay with the defendant’s failure to recognise the stationary transit van. Jeremy Evans from the CPS said: “This was an utterly tragic incident in which two beloved men have lost their lives, leaving their families bereft. “Szuba failed to notice the stationary vehicle in front of him.

The evidence of many eyewitnesses underlines what is clear from the CCTV – the van was there to be seen and there is no reason why the defendant should not have appreciated the danger that lay ahead, as other drivers had done.

“Our thoughts remain with the families of Mr Mercer and Mr Murgeanu.”

Notes to editors

  • Jeremy Evans is a Senior Crown Advocate with CPS Yorkshire and Humberside.
    Prezemyslaw Szuba D.o.B: 20/12/79.

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