Lorry driver who crashed into motorist on the A1 ‘reacted too late after suffering a sneezing fit’

The family of a man left with a serious brain injury after a lorry crashed into his van say their lives have changed forever.

Steven Hurst, 45, was left with a fractured skull and memory loss after a heavy goods vehicle crashed into his van on the A1 in Newark on the morning of May 10, 2018.

Colin Shaw, 70, was driving the heavy goods vehicle on cruise control when he hit the back of the Citroen van at 56 miles per hour, police said.

He was sentenced on Tuesday (September 28) to 12 months in prison, suspended for 15 months, and banned from driving for two years.

The crash resulted in Mr Hurst suffering a serious head injury that left him in hospital for two weeks.

Mr Hurst, of Ordsall, Retford, was left with skull and facial fractures, and with bleeding behind his right eye and a brain injury.

As a result, he suffered a loss of eyesight in one eye and now suffers from memory loss more than three years on from the crash.

After the sentencing, Steven’s family said: “We urge everyone to remain focused whilst they are driving, especially when driving vehicles of this size as any lack of concentration for any length of time can cause catastrophic consequences and change a family’s life forever as we have sadly come to know over the last three years.

“The collision changed our lives and we as a family urge all road users to pay attention on the roads.”

Police said Shaw told officers during his interview he “reacted too late after suffering a sneezing fit”.

However, he accepted the traffic was visible for up to half a mile and that he should have applied his brakes before the sneezes came on.

During his police interview he explained how he had travelled along this road before and how he began to sneeze and then looked up and heard a bang as he hit the victims stationary van in front of him.

Shaw admitted that he did not understand why he only applied his breaks at the last minute and couldn’t understand why he had perceived the road differently to everyone else.

He pleaded guilty to causing serious injury by dangerous driving.

Shaw, of The Drive, Bingley, Bradford, appeared at Nottingham Crown Court on Tuesday for sentencing.

He was also banned from driving for two years and ordered to complete 80 hours of unpaid work, abide by a curfew for six months and to take an extended retest.

Following the sentencing, case investigator Sophie Law, of Nottinghamshire Police, said: “It’s the responsibility of every driver to ensure the safety of themselves and other road users.

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“Shaw could see traffic up ahead of him but failed to read the road correctly. This had devastating consequences for the van driver he ploughed into.

“We urge drivers to take care on the roads at all times, to avoid devastating incidents such as this from happening.”

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