Lorry drivers jailed for fatal crash on motorway

|News, Driving offences

Two lorry drivers have been jailed after they caused a motorway crash which killed eight people travelling in a minibus.

Ryszard Masierak was jailed for 14 years after being convicted of eight counts of causing death by dangerous driving and four counts of causing serious injury by dangerous driving following a trial at Reading Crown Court.

David Wagstaff  was jailed for 40 months after admitting death by careless driving at an earlier hearing.

Both men were sentenced at Aylesbury Crown Court on 23 March.

Their lorries collided with the minibus, carrying 12 people, on the M1 near Newport Pagnell, Buckinghamshire on 26 August last year.

Eight people in the minibus, including the driver, died. The rest suffered serious injuries.

Masierak, 31, was over the drink-drive limit when he stopped his vehicle in lane one of the M1 at around 3am. Subsequent tests showed he was likely to have been over twice the limit at the time.

He remained in the lane for over 12 minutes as cars overtook his vehicle. When the minibus attempted to go past the lorry it became trapped due to traffic in other lanes.

Wagstaff, 54, was speaking on a hands-free device while driving in cruise control in another lorry, in the same lane as the minibus and Masierak’s lorry.

He was travelling behind another heavy goods vehicle. That vehicle saw the stationary minibus and pulled out to overtake, giving Wagstaff a clear view ahead. Wagstaff failed to see the minibus and went into the back of it, forcing it under Masierak’s lorry.

The driver of the minibus was taking the group - comprising of families and their friends - from Nottingham to London. They were then travelling to Disneyland, Paris. The deceased were aged between 26 and 63 and the seriously injured included a child aged four at the time.

Louise Attrill, for the CPS, said: "This was an entirely avoidable collision with the most catastrophic consequences and tragic waste of life caused by the driving of these two men.

"Masierak showed flagrant disregard for other road users by parking in lane one of the motorway.

"His stationary lorry and the minibus were clearly visible to Wagstaff for a considerable time, but he was oblivious to the approaching hazard.

This case highlights the serious consequences of failing to be alert when driving. Our thoughts are with all those affected by this tragedy."

Notes to editors

  • Ryszard Masierak (dob 20/10/1986): was convicted of eight counts of death by dangerous driving and four counts causing serious injury by dangerous driving;
  • David Wagstaff (dob 20/12/1963): pleaded guilty to eight counts of death by careless and four counts of careless driving at on 27 October 2017 at Aylesbury Crown Court; and
  • Louise Attrill is a Senior Crown Prosecutor for Thames and Chiltern.

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