Wednesday 18 October 2017

Trucker looking at phone killed mum and kids

Driver Tomasz Kroker, killed a mother and three children by ploughing into their stationary car while looking at his mobile phone
Driver Tomasz Kroker, killed a mother and three children by ploughing into their stationary car while looking at his mobile phone

Dominic Harris, London

A father and son saw their family killed in front of them when a lorry ploughed into their car at 80kmh while its driver was looking for music on his mobile phone.

Tomasz Kroker (30) smashed into a row of stationary traffic on the A34 near Newbury in Berkshire, shunting the vehicle carrying Tracey Houghton (45), her sons Ethan (13) and Josh (11) and stepdaughter Aimee Goldsmith (11) underneath a heavy goods vehicle.

Their Vauxhall Corsa was crushed to a third of its size, immediately killing the family, from Bedfordshire, who had been on their way home after a camping trip.

The carnage was witnessed by Aimee's 13-year-old brother Jake and their father Mark Goldsmith in the car behind, which itself was badly damaged.

Reading Crown Court heard that Kroker had barely looked up from his phone for up to 45 seconds - an entire kilometre - before the crash.

Little more than an hour earlier he had signed a declaration when he picked up his lorry from Andover promising never to use a mobile phone while driving.

The Polish driver broke down in tears at the scene, saying to himself: "I've killed them." He tried to claim his brakes failed, telling police the traffic in front of him "just stopped", and later lied to his company about whether he had been distracted, saying: "Had radio on. Not tuning it. Not on phone."

But footage from a dashboard camera showed him scrolling through music on his phone, only noticing the stationary traffic and bracing for the crash less than a second before impact.

Kroker, from Trajan Walk in Andover, Hampshire, sobbed again in court yesterday and held his face in his hands as footage was shown to the grief-stricken family members and survivors of the crash. His own partner watched as he was jailed for 10 years after pleading guilty earlier this month at the same court to four counts of causing death by dangerous driving and one of causing serious injury by dangerous driving.

Irish Independent

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