Sheffield lorry driver jailed for killing motorist in early-morning horror crash

Ashley Cole, 56, of Ecclesfield was jailed for two years today, after being found guilty of causing death by dangerous driving. Picture: Craig McGlasson News
Ashley Cole, 56, of Ecclesfield was jailed for two years today, after being found guilty of causing death by dangerous driving. Picture: Craig McGlasson News
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A lorry driver from Sheffield has been jailed, after he was found guilty of causing the death of another motorist in an early morning horror crash.

Ashley Cole, of Ecclesfield, admitted a charge of causing death careless driving in relation to the crash on the A66 trans-pennine road that killed motorist, Jamie Armstrong.

He denied causing death by dangerous driving, but jurors found him unanimously guilty of the charge, following a week-long trial at Carlisle Crown Court.

At the conclusion of the trial today (Wednesday, August 29) Judge Barbara Forrester jailed 56-year-old Cole for two years and banned him from driving for two years on his release from prison. Cole will also be required to take an extended driving test, should he wish to get behind the wheel again.

Mr Armstrong had been travelling to work in the North East when the crash took place at around 5.20am on September 8, 2016.

He suffered 'catastrophic' and fatal head injuries in the collision.

In a moving statement released by Mr Armstrong's family, they described him as a 'fun loving lad' who lived life to the full and loved travelling and work.

They added: "He will be sadly missed by all who knew him.”

The court heard how Cole, a dad-of-two, drove out of Stainmore Cafe car park - between Penrith and Scotch Corner - at 5-20am after resting overnight.

He travelled across the eastbound carriageway, and temporarily stopped the tractor unit of his furniture-laden HGV in the central reservation while waiting to turn west.

Opening the case at the beginning of the trial, prosecutor, Charles Brown, said Cole waited in the central reservation for 15 seconds.

'His trailer blocked the entirety of the eastbound carriageway' he had crossed, said Mr Brown, and was 'smack bang' across it.

"He had been travelling for only approximately a second or so when Jamie Armstrong's vehicle drove into collision with the side of his trailer," said Mr Brown.

Giving evidence, Cole spoke of hearing 'a big bang from the right hand side' as the fatal collision occurred.

"As far as I know the right hand side was clear. I thought there was no issue," he said.

"I'd got my window down already. Everything fell off the shelves," he continued. "I got out and saw Mr Armstrong's car underneath my trailer." Cole immediately called the emergency services.

During cross-examination, Mr Brown suggested the truck driver would have seen Mr Armstrong's headlights if he had looked right. But Cole replied: "I did look." He added: "They were not there."

A police collision investigator concluded Mr Armstrong's vehicle, due to the sloping road layout, would have been 'out of view' to Cole from almost a mile away until less than 400 metres from the scene.

The investigator spoke of a 'difficult' central reservation junction which the HGV driver had also told police was 'awkward'.