Lorry driver found guilty of causing the death of a man after stopping on dual carriageway

A lorry driver who caused the death of a young man from Peterlee, after stopping on a dual carriageway, has been convicted.

Marcel Balan, 57, stopped the lorry he was driving on an unlit stretch of the A19 near Sunderland in March last year.

His dangerous decision behind the wheel resulted in the tragic death of 24-year-old John Terence Robinson, who was travelling behind in his Ford Fusion which collided with the back of the stationary HGV.

The impact of the collision in pitch-black conditions saw the lorry pushed forward eight metres – as the victim’s car went underneath it. Mr Robinson was sadly pronounced dead at the scene.

John's family say losing him "will affect us for the rest of our lives" Credit: Family photo

Balan, of Cope Street, Barnsley, was charged following Mr Robinson’s death but denied causing death by dangerous driving.

Upon arrest, Balan claimed he had come to a gradual stop on the carriageway because he had heard a noise in his lorry and feared his cargo had come loose. This was contradicted by the data from his vehicle's tachograph and dashcam footage, and there was no evidence of his load being insecure.

A jury has found him guilty of the offence after an eight-day trial at Newcastle Crown Court. He is due to be sentenced next month on 7 February.

The white lorry driven by Balan Credit: Northumbria Police

Following the case, Sergeant Steve Armstrong, of Northumbria Police, paid tribute to Mr Robinson’s family and said the incident should act as a sobering reminder to all motorists.

Our thoughts go out to Mr Robinson’s family and friends who have had to endure an incredibly difficult 10 months since this tragic incident took place.

Northumbria Police
  • Family statement:

We would like to thank our family liaison officers Gary Morris and Steve Ford for their kind support that we have received since March 13, 2019 until now.

Family statement