Lorry driver killed dog trainer after falling asleep at wheel

Tracking equipment in Michael Wilson's vehicle had been 'manipulated' despite the driver 'showing signs of fatigue' before the fatal crash.

Lorry driver who killed dog trainer in head on crash after falling asleep at wheel on A75 jailed iStock

A lorry driver who caused the death of a dog trainer in a devastating head on collision after he fell asleep at the wheel has been jailed for five years.

Michael Wilson’s articulated vehicle crossed the centre line of the A75 road at Creetown, in Dumfries and Galloway, in the early hours of July 7, 2018. 

Alan Neill, 70, was travelling in the opposite direction in his Ford pick-up towing 12 dogs in a trailer when the lorry smashed into his vehicle, leaving him fatally injured.

Another motorist, Glenda Harper, was also seriously hurt after her Suzuki was hit. She had to be cut out of her car and was airlifted to hospital with multiple injuries.

A judge told Wilson at the High Court in Edinburgh: “I am satisfied there is no appropriate alternative to a custodial sentence.”

Lord Armstrong said he noted that Wilson has expressed “remorse and regret” but said it was a very serious matter.

The judge banned him from driving for nine and a half years and ordered he resit a test before driving again.

The court heard that the recording function of tachograph equipment on the lorry had been manipulated and that Wilson had tail-gated another motorist while “showing signs of fatigue”.

Wilson, of Craigavon, in Northern Ireland, was earlier found guilty of causing the death of Mr Neill, from County Tyrone, by driving dangerously.

A jury at his trial rejected a defence that the incident was caused by him reacting to something appearing on the roadway. Wilson had claimed that he swerved to avoid it.  

Defence counsel Allan Macleod said: “He is genuinely very sorry and remorseful that his actions caused the death of another human being and that is something he will have to live with for the rest of his life.”

He said Wilson still experienced flashbacks and woke up during the night with recurring and disturbing dreams.

Mr Macleod said that Wilson was assessed as posing a low risk of further offending and that Wilson had told him he had no intention to drive HGV vehicles again.

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