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M1 death crash trucker David Wagstaff cleared of charge


Scene after M1 crash

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Two lorries and a minibus were involved in the crash on the M1 last August

A second lorry driver involved in a crash on the M1 that killed eight people has been cleared of causing death by dangerous driving.

David Wagstaff had previously admitted eight counts of the lesser charge of causing death by careless driving.

Wagstaff, 54, was on a hands-free call when his lorry forced a minibus under a stationary lorry in lane one.

The driver of the other lorry involved, Ryszard Masierak, 31, was convicted on Tuesday of dangerous driving charges.

The pair are due to be sentenced at Aylesbury Crown Court on 23 March.

Wagstaff described what happened as a “lack of concentration” and was also cleared of four counts of causing serious injury by dangerous driving by the jury at Reading Crown Court, charges that Masierak had also been found guilty of.

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Helen Tipper

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David Wagstaff was on a hands-free call when he crashed into the minibus

Fed Ex driver Wagstaff put his head in his hands when he sat down after the verdicts had been given and Judge Francis Sheridan paid tribute to the jury in what he described as a “very emotional and heartbreaking” case.

The court heard AIM Logistics driver Masierak was at twice the drink-drive limit when he stopped his vehicle in the carriageway near Newport Pagnell on 26 August last year.

After 03:00 BST, a minibus being driven by Cyriac Joseph carrying 11 Indian tourists from Nottingham to London on their way to Disneyland Paris pulled up behind Masierak’s vehicle with its hazard lights on, waiting to go around it.

Wagstaff, who had been on a hands-free call for an hour, ploughed into the back of the minibus, without swerving or braking, and forced it into and under Mr Masierak’s vehicle, the court heard.

Wagstaff, of Derwent Street, Stoke-on-Trent, told police he spoke to fellow driver Elliot Brough frequently and on the night in question they were talking about “rubbish”, including Everton and Donald Trump.

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The minibus was owned and being driven by Cyriac Joseph

During the trial, Wagstaff, who has since been diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder, said he “cannot remember anything at all” about the collision.

His lawyer said he had “vivid memories” of the bodies in the aftermath of the crash over the August Bank Holiday weekend.

The eight people killed – six men and two women – were Mr Joseph, Panneerselvam Annamalai, Rishi Ranjeev Kumar, Vivek Baskaran, Lavanyalakshmi Seetharaman, Karthikeyan Pugalur Ramasubramanian, Subramaniyan Arachelvan and Tamilmani Arachelvan.

The four other people in the minibus – including a four-year-old girl left orphaned by the tragedy – spent weeks in hospital following the crash.

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Thames Valley Police

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Ryszard Masierak stopped in the inside lane of the M1 at about 02:57 on 26 August

The court was told AIM Logistics driver Masierak stopped in the carriageway at about 02:57 BST, despite there being miles of hard shoulder available.

Prosecutor Oliver Saxby QC called the Polish national’s behaviour “as flagrant as it was dangerous”.

He admitted he had consumed alcohol but said this had nothing to do with the crash. Instead he said he stopped because he was sweating, felt weak and had a headache and had attempted to get onto the hard shoulder.

Masierak, of Barnards Close, Evesham, Worcestershire, then said he lost consciousness, only to be woken from what he described as a “small coma” when the crash happened.


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