Category: Caerwys

Ewloe construction firm fined over death of scaffolder run over by dumper truck

A COMPANY headquarted in Flintshire has been fined after the death of a construction worker
Redrow Homes Limited, based in Ewloe, and WPI Civil Engineering Limited have been fined after the death of scaffolder Henry Jones in 2013.
Liverpool Crown Court…

Bronington crash driver admits 'worst mistake of my life'

A CATTLE truck containing 18 animals ended up on its side after being struck by an oncoming Astra estate, a court heard.
Flintshire Magistrates Court at Mold was told how the driver of the estate vehicle and his passenger were both seriously hurt in th…

HGV driver jailed for four years for causing death by dangerous driving of Mold pensioner

A LORRY driver has been jailed for four years after a jury found him guilty of causing the death of a Flintshire family man by dangerous driving.

Christopher Williams, 47, was driving too close to an HGV in front of him on the A55 dual carriageway and therefore could not see two vehicles parked at the roadside.

One belonged to Mold grandfather William Owen, 81, who had pulled over with his wife Iris, 80, when their Citroen Xsara Picasso suffered a mechanical fault on the morning of Friday, September 4, 2015.

William ‘Doug’ Owen, 81, from Mold, who died in the crash on the A55 near Broughton, pictured with his wife Iris ‘Rosemary’ Owen

The second was a Ford transit recovery van belonging to ‘Good Samaritan’ Michael Rogers who had stopped to help the couple between the Posthouse roundabout and Broughton junction.

Both were parked tight to the barrier but with no hard shoulder on that stretch of road, they overlapped slightly into the inside lane of the carriageway.

When the first lorry pulled out to avoid the two vehicles, Williams found himself with no time to react and ploughed into both.

The impact at more than 50mph shunted the Transit van straight into Mr Owen, who was known by family and friends as Doug.

Sentencing at Chester Crown Court on Friday, Judge Roger Dutton said: “He was subject to such terrific impact that he was propelled from the carriageway onto the embankment of the railway beneath.

“He was alive when those who stopped tried to assist and they are to be commended for what they tried to do. But it was, it seems, quite plainly doomed to failure and Mr Owen sadly died at the scene.”

Mrs Owen – known more commonly as Rosemary – also suffered serious injuries, including two broken ribs, and was airlifted to Aintree University Hospital in Liverpool. 

It was during the flight that she was told her husband had not survived.

Reading her victim impact statement, Matthew Curtis, prosecuting, said her first husband had also died in a road accident and she had struggled severely since Mr Owens death.

“I didn’t have chance to hold Doug’s hand to say goodbye,” she said.

Williams, of Cae’r Fron, Holywell, had denied causing the death of Mr Owen by dangerous driving, and also denied causing Mrs Owen serious injury by dangerous driving.

But it took the jury of eight men and four women less than four hours to return unanimous guilty verdicts on both counts on Friday following a four-day trial at Chester Crown Court.

Tom Gent, defending, described the case as “truly tragic” for all involved.

“The defendant is desperately sorry for what he did and for the terrible consequences of what he did,” the barrister said.

“He has thought every day since this incident of Mr Owen and of what happened on that road. It has affected him deeply.”

Williams, who has no previous convictions or penalty points on his licence, was jailed for four years for causing death by dangerous driving as well as three years, to run concurrently, for causing serious injury by dangerous driving.

He was also disqualified from driving for six years and will have to take an extended re-test. 

He will lose his job as an HGV driver and his imprisonment means his wife will have to move out of the home they rent.

The court heard that Mr Owen was a big rugby fan and had been closely connected to Mold RFC, managing and training a youth team.

He served with the RAF as a mechanic and driver for many years, and had also worked as a coal miner.

He married his wife in 1958 and they had three children.

Mr Owen was described as in good health and “dedicated to his grandchildren”.

He also loved swimming, gardening, barbecues and ballroom dancing.

The judge told him: “He had every reason to expect that he would be able to live his latter years peacefully in the company of his wife. 

“But you killed Mr Owen by your driving that day.

“Your driving was lamentably dangerous in my view. You were relying wholly on a driver in front of you.

“Quite why you chose to drive in such a dangerous way beggars belief but the consequences have been awful and I imagine you will remember that day for the rest of your life.”

U-turn on plan to scrap imperial units at Flintshire bridge EU drivers get stuck under

Council chiefs in Flintshire have done a sharp u-turn over plans to scrap imperial units at bridge under which European lorry drivers regularly get stuck.

Signs at the Penyffordd bridge had been in both metric and imperial units, but they didn’t match up.

So European lorry drivers who looked at the metric measurements – which said it has a clearance of 4.1m – thought they could fit under it.

But several got stuck, and one Polish HGV driver was even fined over getting his wagon wedged there.

The council had said it was now going to get rid of the old imperial signs altogether, and have corrected metric-only ones.

But after concerns were raised by the British Weights and Measures Association that the change would be illegal, council chiefs said the authority would be putting up new, correct signs in both units.

The council’s highways department told the Daily Post initially it had “surveyed all of the low bridge signs in the County and will be replacing the dual imperial/metric information with metric only notifications.”

But the British Weights and Measures Association said that move was not allowed.

Warwick Cairns, spokesman for the campaign group, said: “They probably think it’s the 21st century and everyone is using metric, but they’re wrong to use it.

“Existing imperial-only signs are allowed, but metric must be alongside imperial on new signs.

“The council have probably misinterpreted the move to metric to mean metric-only.

The lorry stuck under the railway bridge on the A5104 at Penyffordd

The lorry stuck under the railway bridge on the A5104 at Penyffordd (Photo: Richard Williams)

“You can have metric as a secondary measurement, but imperial has to be there.”

When the Daily Post pointed out the Association’s concerns, the council revised its position.

Steve Jones, Chief Officer Streetscene and Transportation said: “The council has surveyed all of the low bridge signs in the County and will be replacing the dual imperial/metric information with metric only and imperial only signs located side by side. The work will be completed during scheduled maintenance works over the summer period.”

Neil Carney, a retired policeman and transport manager who is also a professional HGV driver competency trainer, said the confusion around the structure on the A5104 could be a particular problem for European drivers.

Mr Carney said European rules limit lorries to a height of 4m, so they should be able to negotiate Penyffordd Bridge as it is signposted as 4.1m high – or 13ft.

But the imperial and the metric don’t tally – and European drivers would automatically refer to metric measurements.

The lorry stuck under the railway bridge on the A5104 at Penyffordd

The lorry stuck under the railway bridge on the A5104 at Penyffordd (Photo: Richard Williams)

He said: “The sign says there is 13ft clearance under the bridge which is fine. However that only equates to 3.96m and the sign says there is 4.1m clearance.

“That is 14cm difference (almost 6ins) and I let Flintshire County Council[1] know about it two years ago.

“I do courses for transport managers and drivers and when you say 4.1m that means the clearance.

“In Europe the height limit for these vehicles is 4m, so they see 4.1m and think it’s OK – but these drivers are getting caught out.”

A Polish Lorry driver was fined in June 2015 after getting his vehicle stuck under the bridge.

There have been at least three similar incidents since, despite the measurement discrepancy being documented.

References

  1. ^ Flintshire County Council (www.dailypost.co.uk)