Tayside and Central Scotland

Lorry driver Frank Simpson admits A9 layby crash death

Frank Simpson Image copyright PPA
Image caption Frank Simpson only braked two seconds before impact

A lorry driver killed another motorist by drifting off the A9 and crashing into the back of his parked car in a layby, a court has heard.

Frank Simpson veered off the road at 50mph in an 18-tonne lorry and failed to slow down before smashing into John Trimble's parked Vauxhall Corsa.

The court heard that 35-year-old Simpson, from Edinburgh, only braked after hitting Mr Simpson's car.

He admitted causing death by careless driving. Sentence was deferred.

Perth Sheriff Court was told Simpson was driving a refrigerated HGV for DHL and heading to the Vue Cinema in Inverness when the crash happened on 4 November 2014.

Fiscal depute Sue Ruta said Mr Trimble was parked in layby 33 on the northbound carriageway of the A9 at 07:50. He was wearing his seatbelt.

Car overturned

Ms Ruta told the court: "A witness observed the accused's lorry start to drift slowly to the left towards the entrance of the layby.

"That witness had a clear view of the lorry and could see the car parked in the layby. He thought the lorry was going to hit the car because it did not slow down and the brake lights did not come on.

"He saw the accused's lorry plough into the back of the car, propelling it into the air. He saw it turn over before coming to rest on its roof."

She told the court that Simpson was on his mobile phone and appeared dazed when he told the witness "I don't know what happened."

A medical team arrived, including an air ambulance, but Mr Trimble was declared dead at the scene. He had sustained severe head and chest injuries.

'Traumatic event'

Ms Ruta said the lorry's tacograph showed it had gradually slowed down before the impact, but the brakes were only applied two seconds after the vehicles collided.

"There were no mechanical defects. The driver would have had a clear view of the layby for 32 seconds before impact. There is no evidence of the driver reacting to the vehicle leaving the carriageway or the imminent collision," she said.

"He has reacted after the collision by applying the brakes and bringing the vehicle to a controlled stop."

Sheriff William Wood said the tragic and unexpected death of Mr Trimble had "clearly been a very traumatic event for all of the family".

He deferred sentence for reports until 29 March and banned Simpson from driving in the interim.

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