Lorry driver in tears in the dock as wife of man killed in Teddington Hands crash speaks of her loss
By Court reporter | 4th November 2019
A grieving widow told a court how she drove to the scene of a crash fearing that her motorcyclist husband had been involved - and discovered he had been killed by a careless trucker.
Dawn Webley was at home when her husband Jonathon's boss rang asking why he was not at work - and mentioned that there had been a crash on his route.
In a statement to Gloucester crown court Mrs Webley said she decided to drive to the scene of the collision on the A435 Evesham road at Teddington Hands to see if her 54 year old husband had been involved.
"As I drove towards the location I saw that the road had been closed off," she stated. "I said to the woman police officer 'lease don't tell me my husband was involved in the accident'."
Mrs Webley said she was taken to a nearby police vehicle and was then told her husband had died at the scene.
Mrs Webley added: "I started shouting at the police officers to let me go home. I felt as if it was all a dream. I was shaking and I felt scared.
"When I got home and my family started to turn up I felt panic inside me."
As her statement was read the lorry driver who admitted causing her husband's death by careless driving, Gareth Evans, 26, began sobbing in the dock.
Mrs Webley added: "Jonathon was an experienced HGV driver himself and he was always forward planning when he was driving, even when he was on his motorbike.
"I am struggling to come to terms to what has happened. My heart has broken in two."
She went on "Seeing my husband in the mortuary was one of the hardest things I have done in my life. I was told he died instantly because of his injuries. But I wonder what he was thinking in those final seconds.
"His death has affected me every day since.
"Jonathon's death has impacted on me financially as I am now living a basic life. I even had to sell our car and caravan to pay for his headstone."
The court was told that Mr and Mrs Webley had known each other for 29-and-a-half years and had been married for 26.
Mrs Webley concluded: "There are no words to describe how I feel."
Evans, of Cedar Road, Northway, Tewkesbury, pleaded guilty today to causing the death of Mr Webley by careless driving and was jailed for seven months.
He was also banned from driving for two years.
Prosecutor Janine Wood told the court Evans was driving an Iveco tipper truck at 6.20am on September 25 last year and Mr Webley was riding a 1000cc Honda motorcycle.
The collision happened because Evans cut the corner as he was crossing the carriageway to get into a fuel station and failed to see Mr Webley's motorbike.
"In his police statement Evans said he didn't see any light coming towards him and turned," said Mrs Wood.
"The next thing he knows he hears a bang. He gets out and sees a body on the road.
"He was asked about cutting the corner, but he could not explain why he was on the wrong side of the road."
The court heard that accident investigators believed that Evans could have looked but failed to see Webley's headlamp.
Paul Rogers defending said: "Evans has said the only thing he could do to say sorry to Mr Webley's family - that he is 'guilty' but admits that this will not bring him back.
"Evans is also carrying that burden for his careless driving.
"We say absolutely nothing about Mr Webley's driving. He was not responsible for what happened on that morning.
"There is nothing more the victim could have done to make himself more visible.
"Evans is a fine upstanding young man who admits that he made a terrible error of judgement that day.
"He has been a professional driver for several years and is unable to explain what happened that morning.
"He wasn't tired, the conditions were good, he said he was observant and that he had indicated.
"But on that morning he made an error of judgement, possibly because he knew the road too well.
"The speed of collision was 16 mph and he called an ambulance immediately afterwards, but was, by this point, in a state of shock.
"Accident investigators report into the collision states that 'highway hypnosis' could have come into play as if he was driving on auto pilot by looking but failing to see the motorbike.
"Evans has since lost his job which has since impacted on his family."
The Judge, Recorder James Waddington QC, told the defendant: "No sentence that I impose will ever compensate Mr Webley's family. That is not the purpose of these proceedings.
"It was a tragic accident which was caused by your carelessness.
"Dawn Webley has spoken on behalf of the family on how Jonathon's death has impacted on them.
"Her words serve to highlight the human cost when tragic accidents like this occur.
"The A435 Evesham Road is straight with good visibility. However you were complacent about this manoeuvre.
"You stated that you picked out cars in the distance yet you missed a motorbike that was close to you. Your view was entirely unrestricted.
"You cut across the carriageway and Mr Webley had no reason to think that you would drive into his path. He had no chance to avoid the collision.
"However you did stay at the scene and you did call an ambulance and that you have been remorseful ever since.
"This was more than a momentary loss of attention. You were in charge of a large and heavy commercial vehicle."
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