A TRUCKER clocked at almost 90mph on a main Cumbrian road has been handed a suspended jail term and banned from driving.
Carlisle Crown Court heard how a police speed detection van caught Stanley James Yeagers’ laden Mercedes HGV travelling downhill at 89mph as it overtook a car on the A66 westbound at Stainmore, near Brough, at 12-18pm on June 10 last year.
Despite being fitted with a 56mph limiter, his lorry was almost 30mph above the legal top speed for the vehicle on that stretch of road before sudden braking occurred. Prosecutor Jon Close told the court how the vehicle’s electronic stability control – designed to reduce control loss – had “fortunately” kicked in. “Without it there was a risk the HGV was going to jack-knife,” he said, “with potentially disastrous consequences.”
Yeagers initially denied dangerous driving but today (tues) admitted the offence and had a two-month jail term suspended for a year.
Judge Andrew Jefferies QC heard there had been no incident, damage or injury caused on the day. Yeagers had no previous convictions, cautions or reprimands to his name, nor points on his licence, before committing an offence which, it was said, would have a “devastating” impact and end his long career as a lorry driver in the UK and abroad. He told a probation officer of his remorse for “11 seconds of madness that he wishes never happened”.
Passing sentence, Judge Jefferies told him: “You of all people, with your years of experience, must know there is a very good reason why vehicles of that size are limited to 56mph.” He added: “It doesn’t need me to spell out what catastrophic consequences could have arisen.
“You know – and you fully accept that now – just how dangerous that 11 seconds of madness could have been, and was.”
Yeagers, 71, of Harlestone Court, Grimsby, was banned from driving for a year and must pass an extended re-test.
Sergeant Graeme Hodgson of Cumbria Police’s Collision Investigation Unit said: “On the 10 June 2018, a Cumbria Safety Camera Van operator on the A66 near to Stainmore caught an articulated Large Goods Vehicle travelling at 89 miles per hour down the hill into Cumbria.
“It is well in excess of what we normally see and nearly 50% above the speed limit for the vehicle at that location.
“One way this is possible – despite speed limiters fitted to such vehicles – is if the driver deliberately decides to allow gravity to take over control of the vehicle’s descent.
“As the vehicle came into sight of the camera van it can be seen that the driver has braked heavily and it is probably only down to the safety features and electronics of the vehicle and trailer alone that a major collision has been averted.
“Such manner of driving is clearly outside the scope of simply being dealt with as an excess speed offence and the footage was passed to specialist roads policing officers in the Mobile Support Group and experts in the Collision Investigation Unit.
“This resulted in a charge of Dangerous Driving being brought and ultimately being pleaded guilty to. Cumbria Police are committed to making the roads safer for all users.”