Jail and road ban for trucker who ignored warnings

An advocate.
An advocate.

A trucker who ignored height warnings, ploughing into a railway bridge and causing another driver such horrific injuries that his arm was amputated was today (Wednesday) jailed.

William Brierley was behind the wheel of an articulated lorry that smashed into a bridge near Inverkeilor, Angus,

Neil Black, 31, was driving in the opposite direction and was thrown from his chair when his seatbelt ripped in two due to the force of the collision with Brierley’s lorry.

He suffered an horrendous “degloving” injury as the skin was ripped from his arm - as well as multiple fractures to his ribs, legs and arms and lacerations to his liver.

Mr Black was placed in intensive care and eventually had to have his right arm amputated.

Medics described him as a “truly remarkable man” for his recovery, while Mr Black said he had been “affected in every way”.

A sheriff said Brierley’s record of sex offences shows he is an “opportunist who ignores the rules” and jailed him from 22 months.

Fiscal depute Eilidh Robertson told Forfar Sheriff Court that when he stepped from the truck witnesses heard Brierley saying: “I’m going to get my P45.”

She added: “When he was handed the truck by a colleague that day the other man specifically said the trailer was taller than usual.

“Inside the height sign read 4.4m.

“The height of the bridge was displayed on several signs as 4.2m.

“Despite that, the accused continued to drive towards the bridge.

“The lorry hit the bridge then struck the front of the car, causing it to collide with the side of the bridge.

“An investigation found the case of the collision was the accused ignoring warning signs and colliding with the bridge so quickly that Mr Black had no chance to avoid the collision.”

Brierley, 54, of Pitalpin Court, Dundee, pleaded guilty on indictment to a charge of dangerous driving committed on March 30 last year on the A92 at Inverkeilor.

Defence solicitor Gary McIlravey said Brierley had driven the road dozens of times - and that the warning lights had flashed at him repeatedly even when he was driving trucks within the height restriction.

He said: “Familiarity truly bred contempt of the signs.”

Sheriff Gregor Murray jailed Brierley for 22 months and banned him from the road for seven years.

He said: “Yours was a catastrophic decision with equally catastrophic consequences.

“You full well knew the height but chose to ignore the height restriction and assumed it was incorrectly stated.

“Because of the impact on Mr Black and the disabilities he now suffers there is no other option than a custodial sentence.

“Your criminal record shows you tend to be an opportunist who ignores the rules.”

Mr Black, 31, of Arbroath said the crash was down to the trucker’s “negligence and stupidity”.

He said: “My left foot was hanging on by the skin - I needed a fixator fitted for six weeks.

“I had 10 broken ribs on my right side, a punctured lung, my right shoulder was smashed, I had a fractured skull and bleeding on the brain.

“I also had a broken nose and cuts to my face and left hand.

“My right arm was wrapped around the passenger seat and my back was against the passenger door.

“I was awake at the scene and all the way to hospital, and I lost six pints of blood.

“I needed to have three blood transfusions before I was operated on, and my scalp was deroofed.

“It has affected me in every way but I have learned to train my brain again.

“I had never realised about phantom limb pain before it happened but when I woke up from my coma I could feel every injury I had on my arm that wasn’t there.”