A LORRY driver whose sudden swerve across a dual carriageway caused the death of a father of four on a motorbike has been jailed for six months.
John Essex, 48, of Eaton Crescent, Taunton, was also banned from driving for three years after he admitted causing the death of Martin Acock, 43, by careless driving.
Mr Acock, a keen motorcyclist whose daughter was riding pillion at the time of the tragedy, had been unable to avoid running into the back of Essex’s lorry on the A38 Quedgeley by-pass near Gloucester on October 20, 2012.
His daughter, Samantha, managed to jump clear just before impact but still suffered serious pelvic injuries.
Jailing Essex, Judge Jamie Tabor told him: “I do not accept your case that this was a piece of momentary inattention. This was a manoeuvre that no experienced driver should have carried out.”
Gloucester Crown Court heard Essex was driving north on the by-pass intending to turn right across to the dual carriageway, where he was due to deliver white goods.
He suddenly realised he had overshot the turning and braked sharply, moving to the offside lane while indicating right, said prosecutor Peter Coombe. But then he saw Mr Acock’s motorcycle behind him in the fast lane and swerved to the left to let him pass – but was still indicating right.
At the same time, Mr Acock also moved to the nearside lane and was then unable to avoid crashing into the back of the lorry as it moved across in front of him. Mr Acock was killed instantly.
Mr Coombe said that after the collision, Essex was heard saying to a witness: “I didn’t see him. He’s not moving. I think he’s dead. I think I’ve killed him.”
A statement from Mr Acock’s father was read to the court in which he said the year of waiting for Essex to own up had added to the family’s grief and trauma. Judge Tabor described the statement as “humane, adult and conciliatory”.
Ian Dixey, defending, said Essex was “deeply, deeply sorry” for what he had done and said he had lost his work as a white goods delivery driver.
Mr Dixey submitted that Essex, who had been driving at below 50mph before the collision, had been guilty of a momentary error when he realised he had overshot his turning.
But Judge Tabor described it as a “terrible piece of driving” and said he had to impose an immediate jail term.