An HGV driver has been jailed for almost nine years and disqualified from driving for more than 14 years, after he ploughed into slow-moving traffic on the A1 while distracted by his phone and killed three people.
Ion Onut admitted three counts of causing death by dangerous driving following the “truly harrowing” collision on the northbound carriageway on 15 July 2021. His Scania lorry was travelling at 58mph when it struck another HGV and four cars before coming to rest at the central reservation and bursting into flames. The 41-year-old was rescued from his burning cab by members of the public and later arrested by police at the scene.
Forensic examinations of his mobile phone found that Onut had been repeatedly using the device’s web browser throughout his journey from Cambridgeshire right up until the time of the collision at Bowburn, County Durham. Paul Mullen, 51, Elaine Sullivan, 59 and David Daglish, 57, all died as a result of the collision.
Sergeant Catherine Iley, from Durham Constabulary, said: “This was a truly harrowing incident for everyone involved and our thoughts remain with the family and friends of Elaine, David, and Paul. This case serves as a dreadful warning of what can happen when drivers use a mobile phone or device whilst behind the wheel of a vehicle – irrespective of the purpose of that use, they are a distraction and as shown in this case, that distraction could have devastating and wide reaching consequences.”