Lorry driver banned for 18 months for causing death by careless driving

David Grogan
David Grogan

A JUDGE told a lorry driver he would punish him for killing a cyclist by taking away his livelihood for 18 months – longer than was normal because of a serious case of causing death by careless driving.

Judge Simon Jack said he had considered jailing David Grogan, 40, because he had not slowed down significantly because of smears on his windscreen and was not paying proper attention after killing a cyclist near Beverley. He took away his license for 18 months.

Judge Jack said one of the factors which led him to suspend his 12-month prison sentence was speculation that Christopher “Tim” Andrews rear light may have been poor because it could not be seen above the surrounding lights on the Tickton bypass.

Former serviceman Grogan of Applegarth Lane, Bridlington, rocked on his heels with relief after the judge announced he would not be jailing him for causing the death by careless driving of Christopher “Tim” Andrew, 48.

Mr Andrew, 48, of Sigglesthorne, was a keen cyclist who was riding to work at a new job with East Riding Council in County Hall after previously working for Hornsea Secondary School as a cleaner. He was wearing a high-viz jacket, helmet, green trousers and lights front and back at 6.40am on October 14 2010.

Grogan, was in his Renault cab and had set off from his works at Catfoss around 6.40am and was going to a hospital near Ashton-under-Lyme to collect a portable building to return to Catfoss.

He went into the back of Mr Andrews claiming he did not see him.

Judge Jack told Grogan: “You were driving a large HGV in a way that fell significantly below what is expected of a competent and careful driver.

“I’m satisfied there were at least three main factors which led to the death of Mr Andrew, the first that you were aware you had a problem with your screen. The speed limit was 40mph and you should have slowed significantly below it.

“You knew you had a difficulty and you didn’t slow at all. Your tacograph suggested 46mph. I will give you the benefit of the doubt that you were right on the speed limit, but that was too high given the circumstances due to the weather conditions and that you had a problem with your windscreen.

“I’m prepared to act on the basis that his rear light was not as bright as one would have wished and that was a factor leading up to the collision, but you were not paying proper attention because, on your own evidence, you didn’t see him until the last minute.

“You should have been able to pick up his bike in the beam of your headlights from 35 metres away, but you never saw anything until you were a couple of metres from him.”

“Mr Andrew’s rear light may have contributed to the accident and, in these circumstances. I take the view that it wouldn’t be just to send you straight to prison.”

Defence barrister Jonathan Lally said the ban would take away his livelihood and he had a family to support. He said he would have to seek alternative employment in the meantime, but his skills were in that area. He said he hoped to return to lorry driving when his ban is over.

Grogan was given a 12-month prison sentence, suspended for two years, and was ordered to carry out 300 hours of unpaid work. He has not ordered him to pay costs after the court heard he is suffering financially as he does not have a job.