Rhyl refuse lorry driver jailed for six months after death of pensioner


Staff reporter (Rhyl Journal)

A COUNCIL refuse lorry driver inexplicably did not see a pensioner crossing the road in front of him and struck him with his vehicle.

Victim Mr Ian Mason, aged 89, who had gone out for a hair cut, struck his head on the road and died of his injuries in hospital later the same day.

Mold Crown Court heard on Friday how West Kinmel Street in Rhyl, was clear when Mr Mason began to cross with the aid of his stick because the lorry was out of his sight around a corner.

He had got half way across the road when the bin lorry, which was cutting the corner, struck him.

The driver, Garry Lee Fletcher, aged 38, of Orton Grove in Rhyl, was jailed for six months after he admitted causing death by careless driving.

Fletcher was also banned from driving for two years and ordered to take an extended driving test.

Judge Niclas Parry told Fletcher: “There is no doubt that when you entered the street you had an opportunity to see him.

Judge Parry said that the defendant’s view was obstructed to a small degree as he approached the point of collision.

But he would have known about the blind spots in his vehicle and they could easily have been eliminated, if he had taken the care to make the slightest head movement to ensure that he had a full view.

“It is a duty on every driver not to drive unaware of what may be in his path,” he said.

Judge Parry said that it as “an entirely avoidable tragedy” which had taken the life of a devoted husband, a loving father, a man who had lived a good life, who had served his country and who had devoted his later life to his wife’s care. Her quality of life had been reduced and the trauma caused to the family was “beyond description”.

Fletcher’s greatest mitigation was his early guilty plea, he was a man of good character who was truly remorseful who was hard working and whose employers were prepared to keep him on. He was a good father with a social conscience who did charity work.

David Mainstone, prosecuting, told how it was 10.41 a.m. when Fletcher, employed by Denbighshire County Council, was driving the refuse lorry from Rhyl town centre when the collision occurred as Mr Mason was half way across the road.

When interviewed, Fletcher suggested that the pensioner must have walked out in front of him but the whole incident was captured on CCTV and that clearly and emphatically showed that was not the case.

There was no question of speeding – an investigation showed the lorry was probably travelling at less than 11 mph at the time.

Richard Thomas, defending, said not a day went by when his client did not think of the incident and that he had caused another man’s death.

He stopped his vehicle as soon as he possibly could but it was too late. He immediately got out to give medical assistance as a first aider and was seen cradling the victim’s head in his hands.

He had worked for the council for five years, he had been kept on but not as a driver, and a job would be available to him if he did not go into custody.

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