Trucker jailed after horror crash which left another driver paralysed - The Rugby Observer

Trucker jailed after horror crash which left another driver paralysed

A TRUCKER ploughed into the back of a car caught in a tailback at a motorway junction, shunting it under the back of another lorry, causing devastating injuries to the driver.

The horrific crash on the southbound approach to junction 2 of the M6 near Rugby has left victim Martin Brannigan paralysed from the shoulders down.

HGV driver Andrew Hallbrook, of Donnington Court, Dudley, was jailed for two-and-a-half years after pleading guilty to causing serious injury to Mr Brannigan by dangerous driving.

The judge at Warwick Crown Court also banned the 45-year-old from driving for three years.

Prosecutor Adam Western said at 8.30amon March 24, 56-year-old Mr Brannigan was driving south on the M6 when he came up behind a tailback of traffic from junction 2.

As the traffic at the junction was moving at a crawl, warning signs had been activated going back one-and-a-half miles.

But despite that, Hallbrook failed to slow down as he approached the tailback in his Daf HGV, and only braked at the last moment – too late to stop him ploughing into the back of Mr Brannigan’s Vauxhall Insignia.

The car was pushed under the trailer of the flatbed lorry in front of it with such force that the lorry, whose driver said he had been braking and showing his brake lights for about 50 seconds, hit another car and forced it into a fifth vehicle.

Mr Western said according to a collision expert, Hallbrook was doing 55mph as he approached the queue, and only braked 12 metres before the point of impact at 49mph.

Mr Brannigan suffered damage to his spinal cord in the crash, as a result of which he was in hospital for seven months and is now paralysed from the shoulders down and is at risk of developing conditions including osteoporosis and infections.

Hallbrook, who was working for an agency and had not driven that HGV before, claimed he had suddenly had the sun in his eyes which had momentarily blinded him, and he had reached for the sun visor before suddenly realising the vehicles ahead had braked – but that was not supported by the other truck driver or the accident investigator.

The court heard Mr Brannigan, an engineer, married with two children, had been an active person, but was now having to live in rented accommodation because it was unlikely the family’s home in Sutton Coldfield could be adapted for his needs.

His wife Julie said they had been childhood sweethearts, and commented: “Every ounce of his dignity is taken away. As his wife, emotionally it has destroyed me. What I will miss most from my husband is a hug, a kiss and a cuddle. This breaks my heart.”

Earl Pinnock, defending, said Hallbrook, who has two children and a step-daughter, was ‘held in high esteem,’ and spent 25 years as a carer worker, as well as being a foster carer for many years.

Jailing Hallbrook, Judge Sylvia de Bertodano told him: “I have read a great deal about you as well, and I accept you are very, very remorseful for what happened.

“But nothing I can do today, and nothing you can ever do, can restore this grieving family’s happiness. He didn’t die, but he will never again have the life he recognised.”


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