HGV driver jailed for causing death of two minibus passengers

22/01/2016

A driver of a heavy goods vehicle, which collided with a mini bus, killing two of its occupants and seriously injuring a third, has today been sentenced at Stafford Crown Court to 12 months’ imprisonment and disqualified from driving for two-and-a-half years after he pleaded guilty at an earlier hearing to two counts of causing death by careless driving.

On 15 February 2015, Artur Mendonca Lopes Martins, 43, from Castelo Branco, Portugal, was the driver of a left hand drive Scania articulated goods vehicle which was heading on the A511 towards the South Coast to catch a ferry back to mainland Europe.

Heading in the opposite direction on the A511 was a Spanish registered left hand drive minibus which was transporting Spanish workers from their accommodation in Swadlincote Derbyshire to a solar installation project in Tutbury.

At 6:55am, the two vehicles collided on the A511 at Tutbury, near Burton-upon-Trent.

Two of the passengers from the minibus - Albino Otero Rodriguez and Juan Carlos Solla Rey, died at the scene of the crash.

Following a police investigation, it became apparent that the defendant had been driving on the wrong side of the road which ultimately led to the head on collision with the minibus.

Paul Reid, District Crown Prosecutor from West Midlands Crown Prosecution Service, said:

"A serious lapse of concentration by the driver of the heavy goods vehicle has led to the death of two people and a third being seriously injured.

"Artur Mendonca Lopes Martins was the driver of left hand drive vehicle and he was fully aware that in the United Kingdom vehicles are driven on the left hand side of a public highway and not on the right hand side as in mainland Europe.

"However, due to his misjudgement, he was driving on the wrong side of the road which resulted in a head on collision with a minibus which was being driven on the correct side of the A511.

"Our thoughts are today with the family and friends of both Albino Otero Rodriguez and Juan Carlos Solla Rey who sadly died as a result of the collision."