Express & Star

Black Country trucker jailed for horror M6 crash which left father-of-two unable to walk

A Black Country trucker who caused devastating injuries to a driver after ploughing into the back of his car has been jailed for two-and-a-half years.

Andrew Hallbrook

Andrew Hallbrook failed to slow down as he approached a tailback on the M6 and smashed into the back of Martin Brannigan's Vauxhall Insignia.

The car was pushed under the trailer of a flatbed lorry in front with such force that the lorry hit another car and forced it into a fifth vehicle.

Mr Branningan, aged 56, from Sutton Coldfield, has been left paralysed from the shoulders down following the crash near junction 2 of the M6 (for Coventry East) on March 24.

Hallbrook, 45, of Donnington Court, Dudley, pleaded guilty to causing serious injury by driving dangerously in October.

And at Warwick Crown Court on Friday he was jailed for two-and-a-half years and banned from driving for three years.

Prosecutor Adam Western said that according to collision expert Dean Spencer, Hallbrook was doing 55mph as he approached the queue, and only braked 12 metres before the point of impact at 49mph.

Mr Brannigan suffered damage to his spinal cord in the crash, as a result of which he was in hospital for seven months and is now paralysed from the shoulders down and is at risk of developing conditions including osteoporosis and infections.

Hallbrook, who was working for an agency and had not driven that HGV before, claimed he had suddenly had the sun in his eyes which had momentarily blinded him, and he had reached for the sun visor before suddenly realising the vehicles ahead had braked.

But his account was not supported by the other truck driver or the accident investigator.

Mr Brannigan, an engineer, married with two children, said: “My injuries mean I will never walk again, which is devastating to me and to my family.”

His wife Julie, added: “Every ounce of his dignity is taken away. As his wife, emotionally it has destroyed me. What I will miss most from my husband is a hug, a kiss and a cuddle. This breaks my heart.”

Earl Pinnock, defending, said Hallbrook, who has two children and a step-daughter, spent 25 years as a carer as well as being a foster carer for many years, and is also involved with Warley Rugby Club.

Judge Sylvia de Bertodano, said: “Traffic was slowing down as a queue formed for a junction, and there were warning on overhead gantries for a mile and a half, as well as cars in front slowing down, with brake lights going on.

“But you, for whatever reason, failed to notice either those warning signs or the slowing of the cars in front until right at the last moment, as a result of which you were unable to reduce your speed by more than 6mph before impact.

“I don’t accept for a minute that this was momentary inadvertence, there were warning signs for a mile-and-a-half."