1. ITV Report

Lorry driver cleared of dangerous driving over M1 crash which killed eight

A lorry driver has been cleared of causing death by dangerous driving after a fatal M1 pile-up which killed eight people.

David Wagstaff was found not guilty of eight counts of causing death and four counts of causing serious injury by dangerous driving.

Yesterday, a second lorry driver, Ryszard Masierak, was convicted over the August Bank Holiday crash near the southbound Newport Pagnell slip road.

Eight people died in the pile-up. They were

  • Cyriac Joseph, 52
  • Karthikeyan Pugalur Ramasubramaniam, 33
  • Rishi Ranjeev Kumar, 27
  • Vivek Baskaran, 26
  • Panneerselvam Annamalai, 63
  • Subramaniyan Arachelvan, 58
  • Lavanyalakshmi Seetharaman, 33
  • Tamilmani Arachelvan, 50
David Wagstaff (left) and Ryszard Masierak (right)

Fed Ex driver Wagstaff had been on a hands-free call and was driving on cruise control when he crashed into a minibus driven by Cyriac Joseph.

Mr Joseph had been waiting behind a second lorry, driven by Masierak, who had stopped in the slow lane for 12 minutes - despite there being miles of hard shoulder.

Mr Joseph had his hazards on and was waiting to pull out when Wagstaff hit them at 56mph. It forced the minibus under Masierak’s lorry.

Cyriac Joseph Credit: BPM Media.

Masierak - a Polish national- had been stationary in the slow lane for 12 minutes. He was over the limit, asleep and had recently had his HGV licence revoked.

He told Reading Crown Court he was a careful driver and claimed he had tried to pull over on the hard shoulder because he felt unwell.

He denied he was drunk, but a breathalyser test showed he was 'likely to have been in the region of twice the legal limit' at the time of the crash.

Masierak also told a witness at the scene he had been ‘asleep’ and asked if he could ‘go’.

But he should not have been behind the wheel. His HGV licence was revoked just a month before.

Ryszard Masierak was called to a driver conduct hearing before the Traffic Commissioner for the West Midlands on 28 June 2017 following a report by the Driver and Vehicle Standards Agency (DVSA) that Mr Masierak had committed drivers’ hours offences whilst in the employment of Cargo Carriers (Midlands) Ltd.

The Office of the Traffic Commissioner wrote to Mr Masierak at the residential address recorded on the driving licence database to give him notice of the hearing on 28 June. He failed to attend.

As a result, the Traffic Commissioner suspended his professional driving licence, meaning he could not drive HGVs.

The Office of the Traffic Commissioner notified Mr Masierak of the suspension and that his professional driving licence would be revoked if he failed to make contact to arrange a further date.

Mr Masierak did not make contact with the Office of the Traffic Commissioner and his professional driving licence was therefore revoked with effect from 20 July 2017.

Credit: ITV News Anglia

After the verdicts the family called for all lorries to be fitted with dashcams so people can see what lorry drivers are doing.

Paying tribute to their father, Mr Joseph’s children - Benson and Benita Cyriac - said:

He was kind-hearted, loving, caring, helpful.

He was someone you could rely on. He was always on the phone helping someone out.

He loved taking photos and cameras. He always wanted family pictures of everyone on holidays. He was a very family orientated man.