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February 28 2018
By Mel Holley

A former routeone editor, Mel has more than 30 years’ experience in road and rail transport journalism.

Cruise-control LGV driver on
hands-free call ‘killed minibus 8’

A lorry driver was twice the drink-drive limit and another was on a hands-free call in cruise control when they were involved in a motorway crash that killed eight people, Reading Crown Court has heard.

Ryszard Masierak, 32, and David Wagstaff, 54, face eight counts of causing death by dangerous driving, and four counts of causing serious injury by dangerous driving on the M1 near Newport Pagnell on 26 August 2017 [routeone/News/30 August 2017].

David Wagstaff was using a hands-free phone, with his artic on cruise control, when he ploughed into the back of the minibus, killing eight people and seriously injuring four others

Mr Masierak faces an additional charge of drink-driving. Both plead not guilty to all charges.

Polish national Mr Masierak parked in lane one at 0257hrs, despite the hard shoulder being available.

Minibus driver Cyriac Joseph was waiting, with his hazard lights on, to go around the lorry when Mr Wagstaff ploughed into the back of the minibus forcing it into and under Mr Masierak's vehicle.

The court heard that Mr Wagstaff did not brake or decelerate before ploughing into the minibus.

CCTV footage of the minutes leading up to the collision and of the crash were shown to the jury.

Prosecutor Oliver Saxby said the crash was “entirely avoidable”.

“In Mr Masierak's case, under the influence of alcohol, parking up in the slowlane of the M1, was an act as flagrant as it was dangerous.

“And in Mr Wagstaff's case, on a hands-free call completely failing to notice what was ahead of him, was inattention on a gross scale.”

The trial continues.

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