Man guilty of causing death of motorway Highway Officer and seriously injuring another
A motorist whose dangerous driving caused him to lose control of his car, resulting in the death of a highways officer has been convicted at Carlisle Crown Court today (7 November).
Football agent Peter Morrison, 37, was speeding behind the wheel of his Mercedes ML350 on the M6 near Tebay, Cumbria, when his car crossed three lanes, collided with a safety barrier and then struck two men working for Highways England on the hard shoulder.
The two victims, Adam Gibb and Paul Holroyd, both aged 51, were on the scene of another collision on the motorway and making the road safe when the incident happened shortly after midday on 21 February last year.
Mr Gibb received fatal injuries and Mr Holroyd suffered a broken back and was paralysed from the chest down.
Evidence showed that Morrison was driving at an average speed of 81mph in heavy rain and high winds whilst the road had surface water causing heavy road spray. This was while a 50mph variable speed limit was in place due to the poor weather conditions.
When his mobile phone was examined, it showed Morrison had sent a mixture of 44 text and WhatsApp messages during the journey. He last sent a message just over a minute and a half before the fatal collision, and the last reply he received was 45 seconds beforehand.
He will be sentenced at the same court on 23 November.
Robert Smith for the CPS said: "This is a tragic case where two highways officers who were making the road safe for other people were hit by an out-of-control car.
"Morrison was using his mobile phone while driving at dangerously high speeds for the road conditions at the time. He failed to heed the many variable speed limit signs and notice boards warning drivers about the accident ahead.
"Morrison pleaded guilty to causing death by careless driving, claiming that a gust of wind and the wet road had caused him to lose control of the car. It was the prosecution's case, however, that his driving was dangerous and after considering the evidence against him, the jury have agreed. Our thoughts are with the families and friends of the victims at this time."