Monday, February 18, 2008

Driver crippled in freak accident

Driver crippled in freak accident

A LORRY driver crippled when a freak runaway trailer collided head-on with his cab near Howden told a jury of the moment he thought he was going to die.

Father-of-three Clive Wade (44), said he could see he was on a collision course when a trailer owned by Hutton Cranswick licensee Clive Tomlinson appeared in front of his milk wagon.

Mr Wade of Holme-upon-Spalding Moor had to be airlifted from the horrific smash on the A614 on Thorpe Road, near Hygena. He suffered serious injuries including several broken bones to his legs. He needed surgery at Hull Royal Infirmary after the smash and now is unable to work and walks only with crutches.

He had been returning from Bristol to the village with an empty wagon after delivering condensed milk when the crash happened. His cab was hit by a breakaway trailer loaded with a mobile bar and marquee.

Giving evidence in a written statement at the start of a trial at Hull Crown Court Mr Wade said: "I could see I was on a collision course. The trailer was hurtling out of control towards me. I took hold of the steering wheel as hard as a could as the only place to go was to the left. I didn't try and turn too fast as the vehicle could have jack-knifed. I thought I was going to be killed. I heard a loud crunch."

Mr Wade, formerly of Wilson Close, Market Weighton, sat in court with his family as the statement was read. The court heard he still had two 13-year-old twins to support and had worked for the same dairy firm in for 21 years.

The driver of the Iveco van, Simon Saxby (46), pleaded guilty to driving a van dangerously on September 21, 2006.

Mr Saxby of Past Heap Farm, Pembury, Tunbridge Wells, told the jury he had had begun work for Mr Tomlinson in May, 2006 in the bar tent business and had no experience of towing a trailer or instruction "whatsoever".

He had been due to set up a bar and tent in a marquee in Derbyshire on the day as part of a nationwide mobile bar business. The court heard the firm had seven vans and four trailers and the drivers never knew which combination they would be taking out. He said he had been staying at the White Horse Inn at Hutton Cranswick at the time and the trailer had been loaded up for him before he set off. He said: "I didn't do my job correctly that day. I didn't do what I should have done. I am very very sorry about what happened. I had no training. I didn't know there wasn't a breakaway cable."

Crown barrister David Hall told the jury Mr Wade had done everything possible to avoid the collision and was in no way to blame. Mr Hall told the jury the accident happened when nuts and bolts sheared on the back of a tow bar, which broke away from a blue Iveco van towing a trailer. He said police had found there was wear and tear on the tow bar and lack of a breakaway cable. He said other issues to consider were a seized load sensor valve, defective hand-brake, overloading and a problem offside brake caliper. He said the tow-bar defects should have been spotted by Mr Saxby before he set off if he had been a careful and competent driver.

Clive Tomlinson (47) had denied any wrong doing. A jury was instructed to find him not guilty of the charge of aiding and abetting a van and trailer to be driven dangerously on the third day of a scheduled four-day trial. He was not in the van and denied knowing it was a danger.

Mr Saxby is due to be sentenced in around four weeks time and was allowed to walk free from court on bail.

Published on 14th February 2008 in News.

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