Tyne & Wear

Washington death-crash lorry driver found guilty

Marcel Balan Image copyright Northumbria Police
Image caption Marcel Balan had denied causing death by dangerous driving

A lorry driver has been found guilty of causing the death of another motorist when he stopped his vehicle after missing a turn-off.

John Robinson, 24, struck the back of Marcel Balan's HGV on the A19 at Washington shortly before midnight on 12 March last year.

At Newcastle Crown Court, Balan, 57, of Cope Street, Barnsley, was found guilty of causing death by dangerous driving.

He claimed he had slowed his vehicle because he believed his load was loose.

Balan was remanded into custody for sentencing on 7 February.

The impact of the crash in pitch-black conditions saw his lorry pushed forward by eight metres, police said.

In a statement released following the verdict, Mr Robinson's family said: "No matter what the outcome of this trial would be, it will not change the fact we have lost our lovely John and this will affect us for the rest of our lives."

Image copyright Family handout
Image caption John Robinson was pronounced dead at the scene

Sgt Steve Armstrong branded Balan's actions "irresponsible and incredibly dangerous" and said the Robinson family had endured a difficult 10 months.

"Their pain was compounded as Balan opted to take this case to trial, with Mr Robinson's family forced to re-live the events of that night which saw their son cruelly taken away from them," he added.

"He has caused a huge amount of pain to so many people as a result of his behaviour behind the wheel."

The Romanian national was working for Birmingham-based transport company TLP Haulage at the time of the crash.

The court had heard he was heading to Sunderland to make a delivery at a national coffee chain but missed the turn-off for the A1231.

The jury found him not guilty of a charge of causing death by dangerous driving by selecting the reverse gear.

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