A trucker who fell asleep at the wheel and killed a dog trainer was described as an “accident waiting to happen”, a court has heard.
Michael Wilson, 28, caused “absolute carnage” on the A75 in Creetown, Dumfries and Galloway in the early hours of July 7, 2018.
Alan Neill was travelling in his Ford pick-up in the opposite direction towing 12 dogs. Wilson ended up crossing over onto the wrong side of the road and smashing into the 70-year-old’s vehicle.
Mr Neill was fatally injured and another motorist who was also hit was left badly hurt.
Wilson insisted the tragedy happened as he tried to avoid “a large figure” that had briefly came onto the road in front of him.
But, jurors were told the HGV driver was still so sleepy after the incident police had to wake him up a number of times in their car.
Wilson is now behind bars after being convicted of causing death by dangerous driving, and will be sentenced in June.
Wilson had been ferrying a lorry load of vegetables at the time.
The court heard the vehicle’s tachograph – used to help record rest periods – was later found not to be working properly. Wilson accepted this breached certain driving regulations, but stated he had been given guidance by the lorry’s previous driver how to fit it.
Prosecutors claimed Wilson had been behind the wheel of the same truck days before the crash and had driven for an excessive total of 13 hours and 20 minutes.
On the morning of the incident, the trucker was said to have been speeding, had tail-gated another motorist while “showing signs of fatigue”.
Describing the smash, Wilson told his lawyer Allan MacLeod it only happened as he tried to stop another collision.
Mr MacLeod: “So, you are driving along and you saw something come out?”
Wilson: “That is right. I did not know what it was. It happened that quick.
“It was a large figure – not just like a cat or dog.”
Wilson claimed he swerved to avoid whatever it was and was then left helpless to prevent the horrific crash fearing his lorry would “jack-knife”.
He ploughed into Alan’s pick up killing the beloved grand-father, of Country Tyrone, Northern Ireland, as well as two of his dogs.
Among the other vehicles Wilson hit was a Suzuki Swift driven by Glenda Harper, who was left seriously injured and had to be cut out of her upturned vehicle.
Mr MacLeod put to Wilson: “It has been suggested that you were an accident waiting to happen.
“You ignored tachograph regulations and the consequences of that were that you were too tired to drive the lorry.”
Wilson: “It was a freak accident. I was awake and alert when it took place.”
But, under cross-examination, prosecutor Christopher Macintosh put to Wilson that officers had to rouse him at least twice after the crash.
Wilson: “I was going in and out of consciousness.”
He also claimed to be affected by police putting the heating on in one of the vehicles as he sat in the back.
Mr Macintosh said Wilson’s driving sparked “absolute carnage” with “a man dead, a woman trapped” as well as a young girl involved “screaming”.
Lord Armstrong revoked bail for Wilson, now of Craigavon, Northern Ireland, and deferred sentencing until June 23 in Edinburgh.