A LORRY driver fell asleep at the wheel on the A1 and ploughed into a broken-down truck, killing a father-of-one, a court was told.

Arthur Page was said to be responsible for a “prolonged period of inattention” and had dozed off, causing a collision in which Wayne Howen suffered fatal crush injuries.

Minutes earlier Mr Howen, from Ingleby Barwick, Teesside, who was driving an articulated tractor unit and delivering gas bottles, had himself collided with a HGV parked in a lay-by on the A1 in North Yorkshire after it was believed he had swerved to avoid a deer.

The victim drove on, but was forced to stop some half a mile further on in the left hand lane of the carriageway near Kirkby Fleetham - between Bedale and Catterick - as the tractor unit was listing and had two badly damaged tyres.

Jonny Walker, prosecuting, told Teesside Crown Court, that witnesses described how Mr Howen's vehicle was “lit up like a Christmas tree”.

It had its hazard lights on, as well as extra lighting, while Mr Howen, 38, had placed two warning triangles to the rear and a number of red and white cones on the carriageway.

He was wearing a fluorescent jacket and waving a torch in a bid to direct passing traffic into the outside lane when the truck was hit from behind by Mr Page's fully laden HGV, causing it to jack-knife and trap Mr Howen - killing him instantly.

He said Mr Page, from Worlaby, Lincolnshire, had felt sleepy and had tried to distract himself by opening the windows in his vehicle.

The 59-year-old had only been working for his employer, a Scunthorpe-based haulage company, for a few days and was driving to Newton Aycliffe when the collision, shortly after 2am, occurred.

Mr Walker said Mr Page had fallen asleep, but it was possible he had roused himself seconds before the impact and tried and failed to swerve.

He said: “This was a situation where the defendant was too tired to stay awake and should not have been driving in such circumstances.”

Mr Page denies causing death by dangerous driving on September 12 2012, as well as causing death by careless driving, a charge which was added at the start of his trial.