Glasgow & West Scotland

Driver jailed for M74 hard shoulder tyre change death

Nicholas Williams Image copyright Spindrift
Image caption Van driver Nicholas Williams had been working for 11 hours before the crash

A delivery driver who killed a motorist as he changed a tyre on the hard shoulder of the motorway has been jailed.

Nicholas Williams crashed into 60-year-old William Johnston on the M74 in South Lanarkshire in November 2014.

The 60-year-old year from Bristol admitted causing death by dangerous driving at the High Court in Glasgow.

Jailing Williams for 28 months, judge Johanna Johnston QC told him "only a custodial sentence" would do.

The court heard how self-employed delivery driver Williams had been working for 11 hours and had made stops in Milton Keynes and Chorley in Lancashire in the hours before he headed 200 miles north to Glasgow on 18 November 2014.

Mr Johnston, meanwhile, was heading to work along the M74 when he pulled onto the hard shoulder at about 06:00 after a problem with one of the tyres of his Fiat Punto.

He put on his hazard lights and was in the process of removing a wheel when he was hit by Williams.

'Cannot explain'

The GPS tracker in Williams' van showed he was travelling at about 85 mph just before the crash.

The grandfather from Biggar was flung almost 200ft as a result of the impact of the crash and died of his injuries.

In a police interview, Williams said he had not been "tired or drowsy" and denied he could have "fallen asleep whilst driving".

He claimed he had heard a "loud bang" which resulted in him losing control of his steering wheel and swerving from his lane.

Barry Smith, defending, said Williams accepted he had not kept his van on the road that morning, but "cannot explain" how he failed to do so.

Sentencing Williams, the judge told him: "You bear the responsibility for the death of a man who was much loved by his family and friends.

"Mr Johnston died due to your dangerous driving."

Williams was also banned from the road for four years.

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