‘A lesson to road users’: jail for lorry driver who killed a horse in motorway collision

  • A driver who killed a horse when his lorry ploughed into a broken-down horsebox has been sent to prison and banned from the road.

    Nicholas Cole, of Harrison Road, Wordsley, Stourbridge, pleaded guilty to driving dangerously, at Northampton Magistrates Court in February. Last week (9 May) he was sentenced, at Northampton Crown Court, to 42 weeks in prison and suspended from driving for 21 months.

    The 47-year-old was driving north on the M1 at about 6.30pm on 17 July last year, between junctions 14 and 15. National Highways had closed lane one of the motorway as the horsebox had broken down.

    “However, despite a red X gantry sign and the fact that highways officers had parked a vehicle a short distance behind the horsebox which displayed flashing amber and red lights, Cole failed to move out of lane one,” a Northamptonshire Police spokesman said.

    “Realising at the last moment, he tried to steer his lorry out of the path of the stationary vehicles, however clipped the highways vehicle before crashing straight into the horsebox.

    “Thankfully, the driver and passengers were waiting on the bank and were unharmed, however their horse was sadly killed.”

    The spokesman said that at the scene, Cole said he had been listening to the radio and “the next thing he knew, he saw the highways vehicle and swerved to avoid it”.

    PS Richard Hill from Northamptonshire Police’s roads policing team said: “As people will be able to see from the footage, this was a shocking collision that sadly resulted in a horse being killed.

    “It’s a stark example of how important it is to keep your focus on the road when you’re driving and to ensure you read the gantry signs displayed on the motorway. Cole would have had plenty of time to see the red X and yet still caused this collision.

    “I hope this sentence is a lesson to him and to other road users. Driving a vehicle is a big responsibility and it is paramount that you are always aware of your surroundings.”

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