Foreign driver blamed for death of six

Commercial Motor
January 19, 2007

A truck driver was unlawfully killed in a crash caused by a migrant worker who was in breach of the Working Time Directive, an inquest has ruled.

Philip Woolley was driving a Hovis LGV on a single-lane stretch of the A52 in Lincolnshire when a minibus driven by unlicensed Portuguese driver Orlando Manuel Dos Santos Lourenco tried to overtake another vehicle in the early hours of 14 February 2006.

The minibus hit the oncoming Hovis vehicle head on, killing Woolley, Lourenco, and four of the six minibus passengers outright.

In an inquest on 19 and 20 December 2006 Coroner Roger Atikinson recorded a verdict of accidental death on Lourenco and unlawful killing verdicts on the other victims. He said: "They died as a result of gross negligence likely to warrant a criminal penalty of considerable severity, such as imprisonment."

Atikinson concluded that the overtaking manoeuvre was the main cause of the accident.

The hearing was told that Woolley, who was due to celebrate his 40th birthday a day after the incident, and the four minibus passengers died of multiple injuries. Sergeant Dave Kay, senior investigating officer at Lincolnshire Police, described the scene of the crash as a "war zone": "In all we collected 1,700 body parts. I've never seen anything like it."

He added that this year's corporate manslaughter act will place more emphasis on the role of employers in road safety.

In a statement, Woolley's family said: "The foolhardy man who killed five innocent people cannot be called to account for his actions."

A Hovis spokesperson says: "Our thoughts once again go out to Mr Woolley's family, friends and colleagues at this difficult time. Mr Woolley was a committed member of our direct-to-store delivery team. It is very sad that his and other innocent lives were lost in this tragic accident, especially in these regrettable circumstances."

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Commercial Motor is the online presence for Commercial Motor magazine, the world’s oldest magazine dedicated to the commercial vehicle industry.

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