A38 lorry driver faces jail over crash which killed Plymouth mum

A careless lorry driver faces jail after he crashed into a broken-down car on the A38 – killing a Plymouth mum.

Jack McIntyre, aged 36, never saw the Audi A4 before hitting it at 55mph, a court heard.

The vehicle was pushed into 54-year-old Briony Elliott and she was fatally injured near the Leigham interchange.

McIntyre, who was driving for Gregory Distribution, was this morning found guilty of causing her death by dangerous driving more than two years ago.

A jury at Plymouth Crown Court acquitted him of the more serious charge of causing death by dangerous driving.

Judge William Mousley released McIntyre on bail until next month for a probation report.

But he warned: “I am sure your barrister has explained to you that you are potentially facing a sentence of immediate imprisonment for this offence.”

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McIntyre, who has not driven lorries for the company since, was handed an interim disqualification ahead of a long-term ban.

He showed little reaction as the foreman read the unanimous verdicts after a three-day trial and just over two hours of deliberations.

Lorry driver Jack McIntyre denies dangerous driving causing the death of a mum
Lorry driver Jack McIntyre denies dangerous driving causing the death of a mum
(Image: Plymouth Live)

McIntyre, of Victoria Road, St Budeaux, admitted that he never saw the broken-down car on the eastbound side of the dual carriageway at about 6.35pm on September 11, 2018.

The Audi had both its hazard and rear lights on in the drizzle.

McIntyre barely braked or swerved before hitting the rear of the Audi, pushing it into its driver standing in front.

She was thrown over the crash barrier and fatally injured, the court heard.

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McIntyre did not stop for another 480 metres – which a prosecution expert said was one of the longest distances he had seen after a major crash.

Prosecutors claimed that McIntyre, who used to drive for National Express, was not paying attention and his view was obscured by water droplets on his windscreen.

Dashcam footage shown to the court proved that his windscreen wipers were not operating.

The scene of the fatal collision on the A38
The scene of the fatal collision on the A38
(Image: Lee Arscott)

Collision expert Andrew Fletcher said that he would expected McIntyre to have seen the broken down vehicle at least six seconds before impact.

That would have given McIntyre, driving the unladen articulated vehicle from the company’s Ernesettle depot to Lichfield in the West Midlands, time to move around the silver estate.

McIntyre, who said he had never had an accident before, tried to explain that he had been distracted by someone in the road and that he could not see the “grey car on a grey day” beneath the shadow of a bridge.

He denied that the water on his windscreen would have obscured his view.

Death crash driver Jack McIntyre covers up as he attends Plymouth Crown Court
Death crash driver Jack McIntyre covers up as he attends Plymouth Crown Court
(Image: PlymouthLive)

McIntyre said he had been licensed to drive HGVs, buses and coaches for a decade and had clocked up 100,000 miles a year “without a scratch”.

He told the jury he had been suspended by Gregory Distribution for three months and had been told he could not drive before his trial.

The hearing was one of many put off because of the Covid-19 pandemic.

The jury acquitted McIntyre of the more serious charge of causing death by dangerous driving – which under the law would mean his conduct fell “far below the standard of a careful and competent driver”.

Careless driving equates to simply “below” the same standard.

Judge Mousley said: “To the sisters and daughters and any other family members, may I express my sincere condolences for your loss and thank you for the dignity you have shown in these proceedings.”

The family has declined to comment after the verdict.

McIntyre was released on bail until sentencing on April 16.

Plymouth Live