Newcastle HGV driver banned after minibus crash which left man feeling 'lucky to be alive'

Andrew Ward of Lynnwood Terrace, Arthurs Hill, Newcastle, has been banned from driving. Credit: NCJ Media

A HGV driver has been disqualified from driving after seriously injuring a man when he crashed his lorry into a minibus.

Andrew Ward of Lynnwood Terrace, Arthurs Hill, Newcastle, pulled out of a junction on Fisher Lane in Cramlington into the path of a Ford transit vehicle which was taking young adults with additional needs to school.

South East Northumberland Magistrates' Court heard the vehicle could not avoid hitting the back of the truck while on the dual carriageway - despite taking evasive action - on 22 September last year.

Prosecutors said while passengers were immediately rescued from the minibus, the driver was trapped for over an hour and needed to be cut free.

The driver, who said in a victim impact statement that he felt lucky to be alive, suffered a broken elbow, cuts to his head, arms and legs, and bruising to the left hand side of his body.

The victim was transferred from Northumbria Specialist Emergency Care Hospital to the Royal Victoria Infirmary, after the extent of his injuries were discovered. He had to undergo surgery and was discharged after three days on a ward.

Ward, 35, has now been disqualified from driving for 12 months after pleading guilty to causing serious injury by careless driving. He was also fined £200 and must pay £85 costs and an £80 victim surcharge.

Rehana Haque, prosecuting read the victim's statement to the court on Tuesday 11 April, saying "As I approached the junction with Nelson Way, a red HGV lorry approached the junction from the left.

"I was expecting it to stop but, without stopping, it continued performing a righthand turn directly in front of me.

"I performed an emergency brake. I attempted to swerve but it was unsuccessful and I collided with the rear of the HGV."

The statement continued: "I was trapped in the vehicle. The passengers had been removed but I was trapped in the vehicle for an hour and had to be cut free by the fire service."

"I feel lucky to still be alive, especially after seeing the state of the vehicle after the accident. I also think my quick actions saved my passengers from serious injury and prevented the incident from ending in a fatality."

Magistrates were told that at the time of the incident Ward worked for Murray Hogg, but had only been employed with them for three weeks.

Ward claimed he had seen the minibus but thought he would have time to get out into the carriageway.

Mitigating, Nina Lewis, said: "He looked and saw the approaching vehicles but thought they were sufficiently far back in distance for him to clear the junction.

"It's the back end of the lorry where contact is made. Another couple of seconds and he would have cleared the carriageway and the accident would not have happened."

The court was also told that Ward would lose his job and that it was unlikely he would work as an HGV driver in the future.

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