Distracted driver is jailed over ‘battering ram’ crash
ALORRY driver who took the lives of an Ormskirk school worker and a teenage pupil has been jailed for eight years and 10 months.
James Majury, 33, was said to have effectively “unleashed a 19.2-tonne battering ram with his eyes closed” on the M58 as he “prioritised” checking his Facebook account at the wheel over the safety of other road users
He opened apps on his mobile phone and sent text messages while driving at up to 56mph and accessed the Facebook app less than a minute before his Mercedes Arocs vehicle, heavily laden with scaffolding, ploughed into the back of a nine-seater minibus carrying pupils and staff from Pontville School, a special educational needs facility in Ormskirk.
Majury slammed on his brakes just half a second before hitting the minibus, Preston Crown Court heard.
Joe Cairns, 14, from Radcliffe, Greater Manchester, and school support worker Anne Kerr, 50, from Southport, died from their injuries at the scene in Bickerstaffe on January 8 last year.
Francis McEntee, prosecuting, said: “The Crown say the defendant had been more engaged with Facebook than the road ahead.
“He displayed a total disregard for the rules of the road and the apparent danger caused to other road users.
“He had effectively unleashed a 19.2-tonne battering ram on the M58 with devastating effect on the lives of his victims.”
Five other people were seriously injured in the multiple-vehicle collision close to junction three of the westbound carriageway, which pushed a Ford Transit van over an embankment.
Before the crash at 8.42am, there were warning signs of a lane closure on the approaching exit slip road and there was an obvious build-up of queuing traffic, the court was told.
Father-of-one Majury remained at the scene following the crash and tried to help free the injured from the minibus, but also attempted to minimise his culpability, said Mr McEntee.
He said: “He attributed the collision to a momentary lapse of judgment and told one person ‘I took my eyes off the road for a second’.”
Majury maintained that account in a later prepared statement to police, but gave no comment after the findings of an examination of his mobile phone and the lorry’s tachograph were presented to him, the court was told.
During his journey from work about 30 minutes earlier, he first sent a text message to Radio 1 while travelling at 1mph and then opened the Sky Sports News app while stationary in traffic.
It could not be said how the app was used but it was reactivated 10 min