Wife Asked Judge Not To Jail Man Who Killed Husband On Smart Motorway
The widow of a man who was killed at the side of a motorway asked the judge not to jail the driver who killed him.
Claire Mercer says she doesn't blame the lorry driver for the collision that killed her husband Jason, 44, and Alexandru Murgeanu, 22, but instead says it was down to the 'smart motorway'.
Jason and Alexandru were involved in a minor collision while on the M1 near Sheffield where the hard shoulder had been turned into a live lane in June 2019.
The two men couldn't get to an emergency refuge spot so had to park up their cars as close to the barrier as possible.
But they were tragically killed moments later when an 18-tonne lorry, being driven by 40-year-old Prezemyslaw Zbigniew Szuba, ploughed into Alexandru's van which propelled him into Jason.
Both men died instantly at the scene, the Metro reports.
Following her husband's death Claire has campaigned against smart motorways and says she believes her husband would not have died if there had been a hard shoulder for him to pull into.
Szuba has admitted two counts of causing death by driving without due care and attention. Today he was jailed for 10 months.
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According to the BBC, in court Judge Jeremy Richardson QC said: "Had there been a hard shoulder, or had the victims driven on for another mile to the refuge, this catastrophe would never have occurred."
However, he told Szuba: "There must be no doubt, however, that the main cause of this fatal crash was your inattention to the road ahead of you."
Jeremy Evans, from the Crown Prosecution Service, told the court the vehicles belonging to the two men had been pulled over for nearly six minutes, during which time many other motorists had driven past safely.
However, speaking outside court, following the decision, Claire said: "We don't believe the correct person is taking responsibility for this massive detrimental effect on ours and so many other people's lives.
"The events of [that day] would not have taken place if there had been a hard shoulder and Highways England was run with the correct priorities in mind."
A Highways England spokesperson told the BBC: "We are deeply saddened by the deaths of Jason Mercer and Alexandru Murgeanu and extend our sympathies to both their families and friends.
"We appreciate that this continues to be an unimaginably difficult time for them and understand the strength of feeling around this case.
"Every road death is a needless loss of life and we must do all that we can to keep our roads safe."
Featured Image Credit: PA
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