Tragedy as roadworker killed by tired driver after double shift
A traffic safety company foreman killed his friend and work colleague by smashing into the back of a parked lorry while sleep deprived after doing a 19 hour double shift.
Stephen Robinson was minutes from home in the West End of Newcastle on his way back from working through the night on roadworks when tragedy struck for front seat passenger Alex Dixon.
A court heard, in his fatigued state, it’s likely Robinson mistook a layby on the A69 near Throckley and Lemington for a slip road and failed to see a parked HGV, which he smashed into the back of.
Mr Dixon, 34, suffered devastating injuries and died at the scene, Newcastle Crown Court heard.
Dad-of-three Robinson, 33, of The Grove, West Denton, who was due to be Mr Dixon’s best man, was jailed for causing death by careless driving.
The victim’s fiance spoke of her devastation and told how she ended up planning his funeral when they should have been planning their wedding.
Alex’s parents, Tommy and Yvonne, of Long Newton, Stockton-on-Tees, spoke of the “unfillable void” left as a result of his death.
The court heard Robinson and Mr Dixon were working as part of a safety convoy escort on roadworks on the A69 at Gilsland, west of Hexham, and were heading back to their homes in Newcastle around 5.15am on March 22.
It was as they got close to home on the A69 in Newcastle that tragedy struck.
The court heard the HGV did not have any parking lights on and its driver was asleep in his bunk but Robinson still should have seen it. The HGV driver suffered minor injuries as a result of the collision.
The police investigation showed Robinson had worked 47 hours in the three days leading up to the crash and had done a double 19 hour shift, with just a 90 minute break.
Stephen Robinson admitted causing death by careless driving.
When he was interviewed by police, Robinson said as he mistook green cats eyes next to a layby for the slip road and he apologised for causing the death of his friend.
Judge Tim Gittins jailed Robinson for nine months and banned him from driving for 12 months after his release.
The judge said it was clear Mr Dixon was a “good man” who was on the “cusp of a bright future”, having got engaged and recently started a new job.
Robinson was due to be Mr Dixon’s best man and Mr Dixon was Robinson’s youngest child’s godfather.
John Boumphrey, defending, said Robinson was a man of exemplary character who had numerous positive references, had continued working for the firm since and who had suffered a pelvic fracture in the crash.