A pregnant dog died after a lorry driver from Northamptonshire pushed a stationary car containing young children into a roundabout.
The HGV driver, Andrew McDermid, was given a six-month suspended sentence at Northampton Crown Court yesterday after the judge heard a statement from the family who survived the crash.
When the lorry hit us the children were screaming and then they suddenly stopped - I was convinced they were injured and had died.Mrs Rose
A woman, her 11-month-old son and two-year-old nephew were also in the car when it was pushed 10 feet along the A45 and into the mouth of the Saxon Avenue roundabout at Collingtree by McDermid.
He was charged with dangerous driving after failing to stop when the car, a Mitsubishi pick-up, carrying the family and several dogs pulled in front of him, even though he “knew there was at least one passenger” inside.
During the sentencing hearing at Northampton Crown Court, Mr Whelan, prosecuting, said: “He straddled two lanes as the road became single-lane to stop other drivers getting around him.
“The complainant, Mr Rose, took issue and used his horn, then got in front of the lorry and stopped. He got out of the car and approached the lorry, but the defendant drove into the back of the car and pushed it into the mouth of the roundabout so it could continue moving forward on the road.”
After the incident at 5.30pm on December 29 last year, the 58-year-old from Jubilee Street in Irthlingborough stopped at a depot half a mile away and phoned the police himself.
A statement from Mr Rose said that he and his family, who run a dog-breeding business, were emotionally and physically affected by the incident. He said: “I sustained ligament damage from waving at the driver to stop and often need help at work.
“One of the dogs in the car, which was pregnant, was injured and died the next day, which had an emotional and financial impact. I am now very apprehensive driving around lorries.”
A statement from Mrs Rose said: “When the lorry hit us the children were screaming and then they suddenly stopped - I was convinced they were injured and had died.
“The children and I have nightmares and I have had therapy for post traumatic stress disorder. Before they incident I had started taking driving lessons but now I have stopped and I don’t feel that I will ever want to learn to drive.”
Witnesses said that McDermid was only travelling at five miles per hour when moving the car. In a statement read out in court he said he accepted his reactions were “completely irresponsible” and he “did not know there were children in the car”, though he knew there was one other passenger.
He was given a six-month prison sentence, suspended for 18 months and a 15-month driving ban. He was also ordered to complete 100 hours of unpaid work.
Recorder John Butterfield QC said: “Mr Rose’s stopping in front of you forced you to stop and he was uncompromising, but there is no justification in taking the steps that you did. Your actions were completely unnecessary.”