Driver James Eagles jailed for death of William Stevenson

A lorry driver has been jailed for four years for causing the death of a 74-year-old moped rider after his HGV ploughed into the back of the bike.

Kent Police said William Stevenson, from Wrotham Heath, Kent never stood a chance in the crash on the A228 near East Peckham on 29 May last year.

James Eagles, 44, of Haywards Heath, West Sussex was found guilty of causing death by dangerous driving.

Judge Jeremy Carey said he would serve half the jail term on licence.

Short of sleep

PC Claire Russell-Thomas said the jury at Maidstone Crown Court was told Eagles had only four-and-a-half hours sleep the night before the crash and had eaten only a bag of crisps that morning.

Mr Stevenson was riding in the southbound carriageway towards Tunbridge Wells when the accident happened about 11:45 BST.

He was taken to the Royal London Hospital by air ambulance, where he was pronounced dead.

"The judge placed a large onus on the need for drivers to have sufficient sleep and for them to read the road properly," said Ms Russell-Thomas.

'Traumatic event'

"The distance Eagles left ahead of him between his vehicle and the moped was wholly inadequate."

Eagles was also disqualified from driving for three years and ordered to take an extended retest before he would be allowed to drive again.

Mr Stevenson's family thanked the drivers who stopped to help at the scene of the crash.

"This has been a traumatic event for all those involved but we hope this verdict will provide us with the next stage of closure," they said in a statement.

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