An HGV driver has been convicted of causing death by dangerous driving after a motorist collided with his lorry that had stopped on an unlit stretch of the A19.
Marcel Balan’s dangerous decision behind the wheel resulted in the death of 24-year-old John Robinson, who was travelling behind in a Ford Fusion and collided with the back of the stationary HGV.
Police said the impact in the pitch black conditions on the road near Sunderland in March 2019 saw the lorry pushed forward eight metres as the car went underneath it.
Balan, 57, was convicted following an eight-day trial at Newcastle Crown Court.
The court heard Balan was travelling southbound on the A19 carriageway, but after driving past the turn-off for the A1231 Wessington Way, he made the decision to stop his lorry in the inside lane of the carriageway.
Seconds later, Robinson’s car collided into the back, causing fatal injuries.
Upon arrest, Balan claimed he had come to a gradual stop because he had heard a noise in his lorry and feared his cargo had come loose.
This was contradicted by the data from his vehicle’s tachograph and dashcam footage, and there was no evidence of his load being insecure.
Sergeant Steve Armstrong, of Northumbria Police said: “Balan’s actions that night were irresponsible and incredibly dangerous.
“The laws of the road are not optional, they are not negotiable – they are there to keep people safe and by ignoring them Balan directly put the lives of Mr Robinson and other road users in danger.
He will be sentenced on 7 February.