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Jail for lorry driver who caused fatal crash on A66

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A lorry driver responsible for a fatal collision on the A66 near Kirkby Thore has been sentenced yesterday (16 March) for causing death by dangerous driving.

Rhys Gardiner, 24, of Old Hall Road, Bentley, Doncaster was found guilty following a trial at Carlisle Crown Court of the offence following the death of 72-year-old fellow HGV driver Timothy Harkness. Gardiner was sentenced today to four years in prison.

The collision occurred at around 5.40am on 3 April 2018.

The court was shown dash cam footage from Gardiner’s HGV which showed his vehicle being driven erratically, including being driven on the verge before veering back into the road and colliding with Mr Harkness’s HGV.

The court heard from a police collision investigator who stated the manner of driving was consistent with Gardiner having fallen asleep at the wheel. The court was also told of a text message Gardiner had sent in the early hours of that morning stating how tired he was.

In his police interview Gardiner accepted that his driving had fallen below that expected of a competent driver, which had resulted in the death of Mr Harkness. However, he denied he had fallen asleep at the wheel before stating he could not remember if he was asleep.

Sergeant Callum Young of Cumbria Constabulary’s Mobile Support Group, said: “It is clear that tiredness has impeded the driving of Gardiner prior to this tragic collision.

“Being behind the wheel when you are unfit through tiredness can have as debilitating an effect on your ability to drive as being over the limit for alcohol or on drugs.

“In this instance, the result was made worse by the fact Gardiner was behind the wheel of a HGV, which meant Mr Harkness never stood a chance.

“The thoughts of everyone at Cumbria Police are with the friends and family of Mr Harkness at this time.”

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Cleator Moor | Cumbria: Little Ireland: Jail for lorry driver who caused fatal crash on A66
Jail for lorry driver who caused fatal crash on A66
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Cleator Moor | Cumbria: Little Ireland
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