Borders HGV Driver Caused Fatal Crash

A LORRY driver who was looking at dating websites on his phone whilst driving at 58mph has been jailed for eight years and 10 months for causing a crash that killed three people, writes Carol Millett.
HGV driver Ion Nicu Onut was driving an articulated truck carrying fertilizer, when he ‘ploughed’ into queueing traffic near junction 61 of the A1(M) at Bowburn, County Durham, on 15 July, last year.
David Daglish and Elaine Sullivan of Seaham, and Paul Mullen of Washington, died in the crash, which created a fireball.
Ion Nicu Onut admitted three counts of causing death by dangerous driving.
His phone records showed that he was browsing dating sites for 40 minutes before the crash, looking at profiles and editing his own while driving, Durham Crown Court heard. He moved from Romania to Galashiels.
He ignored warning signs alerting drivers to slow down ahead of a build-up of traffic caused by a spillage of handbrake fluid. Witnesses saw him driving erratically across lanes minutes before the collision, which occurred at about 18:15. Some thought he had fallen asleep.
Judge James Adkin said: “You were not asleep at the wheel, which would have been bad enough. In fact, you were trawling the internet on dating sites looking for casual sexual partners.”
The judge told the court that the consequences of Onut’s actions were ‘catastrophic’.
Lorry driver Michael Hosty and another man, Ryan Campbell, were commended for their bravery in helping pull Onut free from his burning cab.

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