Dangerous parking is something that plagues towns and cities throughout the world. The following post just shows how bad things can get.
A farmer has been convicted of death by dangerous driving despite not being in his tractor at the time of the fatal crash, in what is believed to be the first case of its kind.
David Woodcock, 38, was held responsible for killing biker Alan Horrocks even though his tractor was stationary.
He had left his large agricultural vehicle protruding onto a country lane, in Congleton, Cheshire, while he went to feed his cattle in a field on September 10 last year.
The 68-year-old failed to spot the eight tonne Caseloader and ploughed his Triumph motorbike into the side of it – which burst into flames on impact.
Emergency services rushed to the scene on Dial Lane at 8.20pm but the grandfather was pronounced dead at the scene after suffering catastrophic injuries.
On Monday, Woodcock, from Congleton, pleaded guilty to causing death by dangerous driving at Stoke-on- Trent Crown Court.
But the father-of-four avoided jail after being handed a two year prison sentence, suspended for two years after a judge ruled he had shown “genuine remorse.”
He was also banned from driving for two years and must take an extended test before he can drive again and ordered to complete 240 hours unpaid work.
Sentencing, Judge David Fletcher said: “You are a man who has lived a blameless life. You will live with the consequences for the rest of your life, you did not have proper regard for vulnerable road users. You will live with the consequences for the rest of your life.”
The court heard Mr Horrocks had been on his way home to Crewe from North Wales with a friend when the accident happened.
Timothy Harrington, prosecuting, said the tractor’s lights and reflectors were not on when the biker crashed into it at between 40 and 45mph in the fading light. He told the court: “Mr Horrocks simply did not see the vehicle. “He collided with it, his bike caught fire and he was tragically killed at the scene.”
Mr Harrington said Woodcock had parked the vehicle during the day and his work had taken him longer than he expected. He added: “When the light began to fade it became invisible and, sadly, in this case deadly.
“Mr Horrocks was a competent motorcyclist. It was a hobby he had gone back to.
“He had given it up while he had a family and following his retirement from work decided to take it back up.”
Robert Smith, defending, said Woodcock had desperately tried to help Mr Horrocks at the scene.
He told the court the defendant did not normally use the machine and was covering for a member of staff who had not turned up for work that day.
He said: “He has an impeccable driving record. He has driven farm vehicles and HGVs for a majority for his adult life. He was not familiar with the task he was undertaking. As farm manager he had to cover as a member of staff had not turned up to work. He has always accepted culpability for the death.”
After the case Sergeant Ian Tanner, from West Midlands Collision Investigation Unit said: “Woodcock failed to appreciate the danger his stationary vehicle posed to vulnerable road users such as motorcyclists and this error had tragic consequences.
“We would urge all road users to ‘think bike’ as even a simple lack of judgement can prove fatal to a cyclist.”
At the time, Mr Horrock’s devastated family described him as: “A much loved dad and grandad, also a good friend to many. Missed by all.” Graham Walker, an expert in road traffic law, said: “The essence of causing death by dangerous driving is that the course of driving caused the death and that the incident takes place on a road or other public place and that it would have been obvious that such driving fell far below the standard of driving expected of a careful and competent driver.
“I would suggest that what makes the present case ‘dangerous driving’, even although the driver was not behind the wheel of his vehicle at the time of impact, is the fact that he had been driving that vehicle moments prior to the collision and he was responsible for leaving the vehicle in a position that would have been obvious to a careful and competent driver must have been a danger to other road users.”
This is the second time somebody has been sentenced for causing death by dangerous driving while not behind the wheel of a vehicle.
In 2010, millionaire John Nichols, 59, made legal history after he was jailed for four years while a passenger in his wife’s car.
He was held responsible for the deaths of a young couple after allowing his partner Mary Butres, 48, to drive home after a day drinking at the races.
She ploughed into Mark Crompton, 20, and Jodie Brown, 19, at 113mph in a Jaguar XJ8 on the A1 in Great Ponton, Lincs