Man left paralyzed after HGV driver's 'nine seconds of inattention' caused A19 horror smash

The scene of the incident
The scene of the incident

A motorist was left completely paralysed everywhere except his face after a HGV driver ploughed into him during nine-and-a-half seconds of "inattention".

Devoted family man Keith Jamieson suffered devastating injuries, including multiple fractures to his skull, neck, pelvis and spine, and needed road-side, life saving surgery after the smash on the A19 in County Durham in November

The grandfather, who is in his 60s, now breathes through an artificial machine, will be bed-bound for life and takes a cocktail of 38 tablets every day to cope with the agony he suffers.

He requires 24-hour care, constant medical intervention, and said in a victim impact statement, completed with the help of his family: "On a simple note, it is the simple things that have been so frustrating, such as needing to scratch my nose or my face."

On the day his life "changed forever", Mr Jamieson, who worked as a roofer, had broken down in his works Ford Transit van, which was left blocking the carriageway.

He had opened the bonnet in an attempt to repair the vehicle, and remove the hazard it presented to others, when it was hit by Kevin Hubbard's HGV and ploughed into him.

Former royal navy seaman Hubbard should have had Mr Jamieson and his broken van in his sights for 340 meters, or nine and a half seconds but simply failed to see him.

Prosecutor Jolyon Perks told Newcastle Crown Court: "For about nine-and-a-half seconds, his broken down vehicle should have been within Mr Hubbard's view and he should have been taking action to avoid it."

Mr Perks told the court the road was wet at the time of the accident and the sun was out, which could have effected driving.

He added: "There was a failure to moderate his driving behaviour or, he simply switched off for nine-and-a-half seconds."

Hubbard, 57, of Lichfield Road, Sunderland, who has never been in trouble before, denied causing serious injury by dangerous driving but was found guilty by a jury after a trial.

Judge Deborah Sherwin jailed him for two years and banned him from the roads for three years.

The judge told him: "The jury heard evidence that for nine-and-a-half seconds prior to the collision, Mr Jamieson's van had been in your full view.

"It was in your view from about 340 meters away. It was only at the last moment, the last one second or so, you saw the van and you braked. This was too late and your lorry collided with the rear of the van."

Hubbard said he had not seen Mr Jamieson's van because of glare from the road.

Judge Sherwin added: "There is no way anyone hearing the facts of this case can see it as anything other than a tragedy.

"By reason of ten seconds inattention, his life has been shattered and your life changed.

"Nothing I can do can restore things to how they were prior to the accident.

"Any sentence I pass will, in all likelihood, by viewed as lenient by Mr Jamieson's family and harsh by you and your family."

Mr Perks told the court Mr Jamieson lost all bodily functions because of his injuries, many of which were life threatening.

He added: "He had complete paralysis of the whole body below the neck. Normal sensation only returned on his face."

The court heard Mr Jamieson's family have been hugely effected by his plight, including his grandchildren, who he enjoyed outdoor activities with and his

wife, from whom he had "never spent a night apart".

In a victim statement, his daughter described him as an "older generation of gentleman" who was devoted to his family.

Mr Jamieson, in his statement, said he misses moments such as spending time with his family, going out for a drive and a coffee in South Shields with his wife and sharing evenings at home with her.

He added: "For the past 14 months I have been in extreme pain every day and every night.

"I spend every day in bed."

Jason Smith, defending, said Hubbard, who is of previous exemplary character and is highly regarded in professional and personal circles, expresses great

sorrow for Mr Jamieson's plight.

Mr Smith said Hubbard is also a grandfather who has strong family ties and is an extremely low risk of re-offending.

Mr Smith said the "lapse" would have been more like six-and-a-half seconds, allowing time for him to notice the hazard and react to it and that tending to a broken down vehicle in such circumstances goes against the highway code.