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Lorry driver tells of moment he ploughed into broken-down car
A LORRY driver has relived the moment he ploughed into the back of a broken-down car in his 44-tonne truck and killed the driver.
Christopher Lewis, 43, was in the witness box at Teesside Crown Court as he gave evidence about the crash in North Yorkshire.
Mr Lewis told a jury that he did not see the stationary Nissan Almera on the inside lane of the A1(M) until he was right upon it.
The separated single father told the court: “I have a vision of what happened a second before . . . it is something I see every day.”
Car driver, Gordon Blair, a psychiatric nurse from Sunderland, was at the back of his vehicle and was killed instantly by the truck.
He was travelling south to see his parents in West Yorkshire when his hatchback broke down near the A59 Harrogate turn-off.
A number of other drivers – some in lorries – took evasive action and either overtook the car or passed it on the hard-shoulder inside.
Some motorists told police after the tragedy on December 28 that Mr Lewis's truck seemed to be heading straight for the Nissan.
One driver sounded his horn and flashed his lights as he tried to attract the attention Mr Lewis – a lorry driver for 21 years.
The trucker, of Chantry Road, Northallerton, North Yorkshire, denies causing death by dangerous driving and careless driving.
Today (Thursday, November 1 told the jury that he did not see the broken-down Nissan until it was too late because he was having a sneezing fit.
Accident experts say Mr Lewis would have had about 15 seconds to see the car, but braked just half a second before the collision.
Mr Lewis told the jury: “I saw him for a split-second, bent over . . . I slammed my foot on the brake as quickly as I could . . .
“There were no lights on the car. It is possible hazard lights would have alerted me. My headlights were on, as were everyone else's.”
The court heard that 50-year-old Mr Blair's car was poorly-maintained and broke down after suffering a massive oil leak.
The prosecution accept that he acted “unwisely” by leaving the vehicle on the inside lane of the motorway and saying with it.
Recalling the collision, Mr Lewis said: “I was shocked. I have never had feelings like it before, and those feelings have not gone.”
The jury of seven men and five women is expected to retire to consider its verdicts tomorrow (Friday, Nov 2) after Judge Peter Bowers sums up the case.