Hitchhiker died after being hit by lorry wing mirror on A143

A143 Pakenham

The accident happened on the A143 at Pakenham - Credit: Google Streetview

A Suffolk lorry driver who killed a hitchhiker after failing to see him walking by the side of the road has been given a suspended prison sentence.

Thirty-eight-year-old Zachary Sutton, a former special constable and police probationer, did not realise at the time that the wing mirror of his flatbed lorry had struck 35-year-old Egidijus Linauskas.

He had fallen to the floor in shock and was in tears when police told him about the collision, Ipswich Crown Court heard.

Sutton, of Fallowfield Walk, Bury St Edmunds, admitted causing the death of Mr Linauskas  by driving without due care and attention on the A143 at Pakenham on July 1, 2019.

He was given a 24-week prison sentence suspended for 12 months and ordered to do 240 hours' unpaid work in the community.

He was also banned from driving for 12 months and ordered to take an extended retest.

Sentencing him, Judge David Pugh said that even on his own expert’s evidence Sutton would have had five seconds to realise there was an obstacle in the road and four seconds to realise it was a pedestrian, giving him ample time to avoid him.

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“The simple reason for this fatal collision is that you weren’t driving with the care and attention you should have exercised,” said the judge.

He said Mr Linauskas, who was wearing dark clothing, had been walking in the same direction as Sutton was driving with his left foot on the edge of the carriageway and his right foot within the carriageway.

“Your wing mirror hit him and that caused his death,” said Judge Pugh.

He accepted that Sutton hadn’t been speeding and there was no evidence of prolonged or deliberate bad driving before or after the collision.

Mr Linauskas, of no fixed address, died at Addenbrooke's Hospital 11 days after suffering serious head, neck and back injuries at the scene.

An inquest heard that Mr Linauskas, who originally came from Lithuania, had been hitchhiking at the time of the incident.

Gareth Munday for Sutton said his client had no previous convictions and had fallen to the ground in shock and was in tears when he was told about the collision.

“He was horrified at what he’d done,” said Mr Munday

He said Sutton was a father-of-two with an unblemished driving record and was highly thought of by his employer who was keen to keep him on.

Mr Munday said Sutton drove along the A143 every day and wasn’t expecting to see anyone on the side of the road.

“His attention lapsed for four to five seconds,” said Mr Munday.

He said it was a matter of deepest regret to Sutton that he hadn’t seen Mr Linauskas by the side of the road in those four seconds.

Mr Munday said Sutton had been suffering from depression since the tragedy and would have to live with what happened for the rest of his life.

He said Sutton had been a special constable and a police probationer for a short time.

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