UK News: Lorry driver caused death of pal in horror motorway crash after he fell asleep at the wheel - - PressFrom - United Kingdom
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UK News Lorry driver caused death of pal in horror motorway crash after he fell asleep at the wheel

17:30  18 october  2019
17:30  18 october  2019 Source:   msn.com

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a close up of a man smiling for the camera: Thomas Curry has been jailed for six years over the death of Robert Sharp © Vic Rodrick Thomas Curry has been jailed for six years over the death of Robert Sharp

A dangerous driver who caused the death of his friend in a horrific motorway crash was today jailed for six years.

Thomas Curry, 41, claimed he had fallen asleep at the wheel before crashing into the rear of an articulated lorry and skidding off the A74(M) into a fence.

He and his passenger Robert Sharp both suffered head injuries but only Curry survived.

The High Court at Livingston was told that the accused's grey Peugeot 307 was clocked doing 90mph shortly before the fatal crash near Eaglesfield in Dumfries and Galloway.

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Curry earlier caused another driver to brake sharply and drive onto the central reservation to avoid him when he suddenly changed lane.

Another motorist was so concerned by Curry’s driving that he phoned his work to ask them to contact the police.

Seven miles further down the motorway Curry drifted across three lanes and collided with the rear offside of the trailer attached to a Scania articulated lorry.

His car left the road and travelled up a grass embankment before smashing into a wooden fence and coming to a halt.

Mr Sharp, who was in the front passenger seat suffered significant blood loss from a deep wound on his neck.

a close up of a man smiling for the camera: Robert Sharp suffered significant blood loss from a deep wound on his neck © Vic Rodrick Robert Sharp suffered significant blood loss from a deep wound on his neck

He was taken to hospital by air ambulance but was pronounced dead after a CT scan showed his injuries were unsurvivable.

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Solicitor advocate Marco Guarino, defending, said Curry had been “utterly traumatised” by the crash and the loss of his friend.

He said: “He apologises to the family in this open forum. He sorely misses his friend.

“He’s horrified that his actions have led to this.”

The solicitor advocate said Curry was very upset about what happened, very, very anxious about what was going to happen to him and filled with remorse.

“As far as the actual crash is concerned, he has very little recollection. His first recollection is trying to get Mr Sharp out of the car.

“Quite clearly his position is he’s fallen asleep. He was very tired that afternoon and did feel tired on the journey.

“He has no recollection of making a manoeuvre or attempting to change lanes.

"The eye witnesses state it was not a sharp manoeuvre. He didn’t swerve across, he drifted across behind the lorry.

“His vehicle got trapped under its trailer and the nearside wheel tyre exploded and shot off.”

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a man sitting in a car: Thomas Curry was clocked doing 90mph shortly before the fatal crash © Vic Rodrick Thomas Curry was clocked doing 90mph shortly before the fatal crash

Mr Guarino said 90mph was not “grossly in excess” of the 70mph speed limit and it was 19 miles down the road from the speeding incident that Curry drifted across three lanes.

He said Curry had moved to Scotland with his partner after being made redundant from his job at the Nissan car factory in Sunderland.

However, the accused, who admitted substance abuse, had been sleeping on the deceased’s couch after being thrown out by his girlfriend.

At the time of the crash he and Mr Sharp, 50, from Maryhill in Glasgow, were travelling back to Newcastle, Tyne and Wear, where Curry had been born and brought up.

He admitted that Curry’s criminal record – which included a seven-year jail sentence for grievous bodily harm and robbery – was an aggravating factor but said his client had mental health issues and had been diagnosed with post traumatic stress and a personality disorder following the death of his father.

Passing sentence, judge Lady Scott told Curry he had admitted causing Mr Sharp’s death by driving dangerously on 26 June 2017 as part of a “prolonged and persistent” episode of bad driving which involved travelling at high speed.

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Drowsy driving and drivers who fall asleep at the wheel cause a significant number of accidents on American roadways. The police officer said he told her he fell … I got rear-ended by a driver who fell asleep at the wheel . I received injuries to my neck which required a cortisone shot.

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She said Mr Sharp had suffered “catastrophic” head injuries and despite being cut from the wreckage by firefighters and airlifted to Queen Elizabeth University Hospital in Glasgow he was pronounced dead later that day.

She said Mr Sharp was part of a large family of five brothers and two sisters who had tragically already lost siblings, making his loss harder.

“Just as Mr Sharp’s life was changing for the better it was taken away from him and his family have been left devastated and bereft.

a sign on the side of a road: The crash happened on the A74(M) near Eaglesfield in Dumfries and Galloway © Google Maps The crash happened on the A74(M) near Eaglesfield in Dumfries and Galloway

“Even if I accept that you fell asleep and drifted across the motorway, this happened in circumstances where you knew you were tired, were very upset and beforehand had narrowly avoided a collision.

“Further aggravation is your bad driving record albeit some convictions are of some age.

“You have a conviction for dangerous driving, two for driving without a licence, three for driving without insurance and two for driving while disqualified for which you received imprisonment on two occasions.”

She said factors in Curry’s favour included being very upset at the time; his background of mental health problems; his expression of remorse; the fact that the deceased was a close friend; that he tried to assist at the scene, and that he had himself sustained a head injury.

Taking into account all the factors, including his early plea of guilty, she sentenced him to six years in prison and disqualified him from driving or applying for a driving licence for seven years.

Outside court Mr Sharp’s brother David, 60, who had submitted a victim impact statement to the court, said the family was “quite happy” with the sentence.

He said: “It’s been a lose/lose situation but we’re glad it’s finally over.”

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