Guilty of causing carnage on motorway - The Evesham Observer

Guilty of causing carnage on motorway

Evesham Editorial 8th Mar, 2018   0

A DRUNK Evesham lorry driver who was found guilty of causing the death of eight people by dangerous driving acted ‘beyond explanation or reason’, according to police.

Ryszard Masierak, 32 of Barnards Close was found guilty at Reading Crown Court on Tuesday of eight counts of causing death by dangerous driving and four counts of causing serious injury by dangerous driving.

His co-defendant David Wagstaff, 54, from Stoke-on-Trent, pleaded guilty to eight counts of causing death by careless driving at a previous hearing at Aylesbury Crown Court.

Eight people died on the M1 near Newport Pagnell following a horrific crash between two lorries and a minibus carrying a group of family and friends on their way to a trip around Europe.

At around 3am on August 26, Masierak stopped his lorry in the slow lane where he remained for 12 and a half minutes, causing an obstruction.

The minibus approached Masierak’s stationary HGV and stopped behind it, unable to pull into the middle lane to overtake due to traffic.

Meanwhile Wagstaff was driving a lorry which approached the scene, talking on his mobile phone using hands-free while on cruise control.

He collided with the stationary vehicles while travelling at 56mph, pushing the minibus under Masierak’s lorry.

Masierak and Wagstaff were both arrested on the day of the collision and charged the following day.

Senior investigating officer Det Sgt Gavin Collier, of the Joint Operations Unit for Roads Policing, said: “This tragedy has permanently devastated the lives of all of those involved and is wholly the responsibility of both the defendants in the case, Mr Wagstaff and Mr Masierak.

“What is so poignant is that this tragedy was completely and utterly avoidable.

“This is not a case about people who drive heavy goods vehicles, but about all those drivers who fix their vehicles on cruise control or use hands-free mobile phone devices but then fail to pay proper attention to what is going on in the road in front of them.

“The actions of Mr Masierak were beyond explanation or reason – to drive knowing you’re drunk, to stop your vehicle in the middle of the road – there are no words that can describe such disregard for public safety.”

Louise Attrill, Senior Crown Prosecutor for Thames and Chiltern Crown Prosecution Service, said: “At the scene Masierak tried to claim he wasn’t the driver of the Scania lorry, he was over the prescribed limit for alcohol when breathalysed, and went on to answer ‘no comment’ during his police interviews.

“Witnesses described seeing him drive the wrong way around a roundabout where the A46 meets junction two of the M6, driving the wrong way down the M69 slip road, and swerving between lanes two and three before crawling in lane three.

“Analysis of his vehicle data identified his driving as erratic. On occasions his speed dropped as low as 11mph.

“This incident, caused by driver error of one drink-driver and the prolonged inattention of another, resulted in a tragic waste of life and could have been avoided.

“Holding a driving licence brings with it a high degree of responsibility that should always be at the forefront of every driver’s mind.”

Masierak and Wagstaff will be sentenced at Aylesbury Crown Court on March 23.

VIDEO: Highways footage showing Masierak slowing down to a stop in the slow lane. Warning contains graphic footage. Video courtesy of Thames Valley Police



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