Lorry driver admits killing motorist in horror A9 smash

Perth Sheriff Court. File picture: Ian Rutherford
Perth Sheriff Court. File picture: Ian Rutherford
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A LORRY driver from Edinburgh has admitted killing another motorist by drifting off the A9 and ploughing at speed into the back of his parked car in a lay-by.

Frank Simpson veered off the road into the lay-by at 50 miles per hour in an 18-ton lorry and failed to slow down before smashing into John Trimble’s parked Vauxhall Corsa.

Simpson - who would have seen the parked car for 32 seconds before the catastrophic impact - failed to brake at all until two seconds after ramming into Mr Trimble’s vehicle.

Perth Sheriff Court was told that Simpson was driving a refrigerated HGV for DHL and heading to the Vue Cinema in Inverness when the accident happened on 4 November 2014.

Fiscal depute Sue Ruta told the court: “The accused was employed via an agency for DHL supply chain in Livingston. He had been driving for the company since 15 May 2014.

“Mr Trimble was employed as a driver for Vital Pet Products in Cumbernauld. He had left home early in a hire car to pick up and return a vehicle for repair.

“The collision occurred within lay-by 33 on the northbound section of the dual carriageway. At 7.50am Mr Trimble was parked in the lay-by and sitting in the driver’s seat wearing his seatbelt.

“The accused was driving northbound at just under 50 miles per hour. A witness observed the accused’s lorry start to drift slowly to the left towards the entrance of the lay-by.

“That witness had a clear view of the lorry and could see the car parked in the lay-by. He thought the lorry was going to hit the car because it did not slow down and the brake lights did not come on.

“He saw the accused’s lorry plough into the back of the car, propelling it into the air. He saw it turn over before coming to rest on its roof.”

She told the court that Simpson was on his mobile phone and appeared dazed when he told the witness “I don’t know what happened.”

A major medical team arrived at the scene, including an air ambulance, but Mr Trimble was declared dead at the scene. He had sustained severe head and chest injuries.

Ms Ruta said the lorry’s tacograph showed it had gradually slowed down before the impact, but had only had the brakes applied two seconds after the vehicles collided.

“There were no mechanical defects. The driver would have had a clear view of the lay-by for 32 seconds before impact. There is no evidence of the driver reacting to the vehicle leaving the carriageway or the imminent collision.

“He has reacted after the collision by applying the brakes and bringing the vehicle to a controlled stop.”

Simpson, 35, Sleigh Gardens, Edinburgh, admitted causing the death by careless driving of John Trimble in lay-by 33 of the A9 Perth to Inverness road on 4 November 2014.

Sheriff William Wood said the tragic and unexpected death of Mr Trimble had “clearly been a very traumatic event for all of the family.”

He deferred sentence for reports until 29 March and banned Simpson from driving on an interim basis.

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