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Jail for texting driver who caused Newark pile-up

A lorry driver who caused a multi-vehicle collision by using his phone behind the wheel has been jailed.

John Cupit, who is 44 and from Newark, has been sentenced to two years and four months in prison after pleading guilty to causing serious injury by dangerous driving.

Crash scene Credit: Nottinghamshire police

Nottingham Crown Court heard that on January 27th Cupit was driving the 32-tonne lorry along the A1 in Newark and went to leave the road via the slip road. Despite it being a busy time of day, he did not slow down and collided with a Punto. The impact caused the Punto to spin and collide with another vehicle, which in turn collided with another two vehicles. A sixth car drove over the debris.

The driver of the Punto suffered serious injuries and was taken to hospital along with another driver. Cupit’s phone was seized at the scene and evidence from the billing provider and his phone company against driving logs showed that he was a frequent user of his phone while on the road. It also revealed that Cupit had only had a few hours sleep before his drive and had admitted being very tired.

In addition, investigations showed that although Cupit’s lorry should have undergone a six-weekly maintenance checks under the terms of his company’s operating licence, it had not been checked for 13 weeks.

This sentence starts the long healing process for the victims and I hope this gives them the sense of justice being done – they are still recovering from their injuries.

John Cupit got behind the wheel of his lorry knowing he was not fully concentrating on the road. His repeated use of his phone whilst driving, combined with his lack of lorry maintenance, shows his attitude to other road users.

It is by pure luck the situation did not become worse. It was the worst collision damage I have ever seen where a person hasn’t died. This also sends a message about the dangerous of using your phone whilst driving. You are risking your life, and the lives of other road users.

– PC John Goodman