A lorry driver who killed a 91-year-old woman after ploughing into queuing motorway traffic while fiddling with his temperature and radio controls has been jailed.
Leon Stott, 35, was travelling at 56mph when he hit the row of stationary cars after taking his eyes off the road for a “considerable” period.
Margaret Harrison, 91, who was on her way to a hospital appointment, was seriously injured in the crash and died a week later from her injuries.
The pile-up happened just after 10am on January 8, 2019 on the M58 at Skelmersdale, where traffic had been left queuing after a previous collision that left two people dead.
A partial road closure had been put place along with a 50mph speed limit but Stott, who was travelling on the westbound carriageway using cruise control, did not see the speed warnings or standing traffic ahead as he was adjusting the heat, ventilation and radio controls in his HGV.
His lorry ploughed into the back of a Ford Transit van which then in turn went into the back of a Ford Fiesta, causing Mrs Harrison serious head, chest and leg injuries.
Both her lungs were collapsed, her hip, both legs and ankle were broken, and she also had an open fracture of one upper arm and shoulder as well as a fracture to the other arm, five broken ribs and a lumbar vertebrae fracture.
She had extensive surgery on January 8 but died on January 16 of pneumonia and her injuries sustained in the collision.
In an interview Stott, from Leyland, Lancashire - who went on to plead guilty to causing death by dangerous driving and two counts of causing serious injury by dangerous driving - told officers: “I wasn't paying enough attention, I was fiddling with the temperature gauge.”
On Thursday he was jailed for three years and four months at Preston Crown Court.
Chief Inspector Sue Bushell, from Lancashire Police, said: “What Stott did showed blatant disregard for the safety of others and himself.
“Whilst we don’t know the exact time period he took his eyes off the road when the lorry was on cruise control, we know it must have been for a good length of time given he missed the speed warning which meant he wasn’t able to react, so didn’t brake at all.
“There are no winners in this case as not only does Stott, who admitted what he’d done straightaway, have to live with the fact his irresponsible actions caused the death of Margaret Harrison, there is also the lasting impact on those who were left injured.”
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