County Durham family urges drivers not to use mobiles after losing loved one

Tom Harker was waiting to turn his horsebox back in to his farm in Sadberge in April 2019, when he was hit from behind by a HGV. Credit: Durham Constabulary

A County Durham family want people to think twice about using mobile phones behind the wheel, after they lost a loved one.

Tom Harker was waiting to turn his horsebox back in to his farm in Sadberge in April 2019, when he was hit from behind by a HGV.

The 68-year-old suffered severe injuries and died at the scene.

The driver of the HGV, Jordan Leonard, was using his mobile banking app at the time and had been so distracted he failed see Mr Harker’s vehicle, ploughing into the back of him.

A court heard how he would have had to have gone through three separate authentication methods to access his banking information.

The 25-year-old, of Minerva Close, Newcastle, pleaded guilty to causing death by dangerous driving and was sentenced to five years in prison.

This incident was devastating for both families and could have been avoided. Mr Harker’s family not only lost their beloved husband, father and grandfather, but also their family business.

Family Liaison Officer, PC Jamie Patel

Durham Constabulary said Mr Harker’s family wanted to share their story as the Cleveland and Durham Specialist Operations Unit (CDSOU) take part in a two-week national safety campaign.

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Drivers using mobile phones are four times more likely to be involved in a collision

The force is taking part in the national campaign to make drivers aware of the dangers of mobile phones, and help people "make a change that could save a life".

Be in no doubt, you can kill someone. Our message is simple – put the phone away while driving. Don’t make that ‘quick’ glance the last thing you ever do!

Durham Constabulary