Hen party M62 crash: Lorry driver Kevin Ollerhead cleared over death

Kevin Ollerhead Image copyright Lynne Cameron/PA wire
Image caption Kevin Ollerhead denied causing death by dangerous driving

A lorry driver has been cleared of causing the death by dangerous driving of a woman on a hen party in West Yorkshire.

Bethany Jones, 18, died and several people were injured in the crash between a minibus and a lorry, on the M62 near Pontefract, on 26 April 2013.

Kevin Ollerhead, 43, who denied the offence, was cleared following a trial.

Bus driver James Johnson, of Wyke, Bradford, admitted causing death by dangerous driving in September.

Mr Ollerhead, of Lincoln Crescent, St Helens, was also cleared of an alternative charge of causing death by careless driving.

The jury of eight women and four men took two hours to return their verdicts at Leeds Crown Court.

Mr Johnson will be sentenced on 14 November.

Image copyright West Yorkshire Police
Image caption Bethany Jones, 18, was killed in the crash on the M62, near Pontefract, West Yorkshire in April last year

Miss Jones - a trainee nurse - was among a group of 20 women travelling to a hen party in Liverpool when their minibus crashed.

The court heard their bus had suffered mechanical problems and had come to a "near standstill" on the motorway.

Mr Ollerhead, who was returning from a delivery, drove straight into the back of the vehicle, shunting it 45m (148ft) into a barrier and leaving it lying on its side across an exit slip road.

Miss Jones died after suffering multiple injuries while 11 passengers were seriously injured, including bride-to-be, Stefanie Firth.

Giving evidence, Mr Ollerhead said there was nothing he could do to avoid the crash.

He told the jury: "I've driven for 20 years and that day I drove the same way.

"I never drive careless. I do not get angry. I'm a professional driver."

Prosecutor Bryan Cox QC alleged Mr Ollerhead had "simply failed to act to avoid a collision".

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