Death crash trucker who was using mobile jailed for more than four years
PUBLISHED: 18:42 09 October 2019 | UPDATED: 19:46 09 October 2019
Lorry driver Raymond Hogg, who had been using his mobile phone moments before he crashed into stationary traffic on the A12, killing an Ipswich grandmother, has been jailed for more than four years.
Hogg was travelling at around 50mph when he collided with queuing traffic near Washbrook, on the approach to the Copdock junction, last April.
Dash-cam footage showed traffic was visible for 14 seconds from the cab of Hogg's Volvo lorry before it collided with the back of Amanda Snowling's red Mazda 6 - setting off a chain of collisions involving three other cars and another lorry.
Investigators later found Hogg's phone was in almost continuous use for more than 20 minutes prior to the collision.
An outgoing call was made seconds before impact - requiring the number to be manually selected or dialled.
There was no evidence Hogg had applied the brakes or taken evasive action as his truck approached the near stationary traffic in lane one of the northbound carriageway just before 12.40pm on Friday, April 20.
The 69-year-old professional driver of 40 years, from Bridge Street, Needham Market, was sentenced to 52 months' custody and a five-year ban from driving upon his release at Ipswich Crown Court on Wednesday.
Hogg pleaded guilty at an earlier hearing to causing the death of 43-year-old Ipswich grandmother Mrs Snowling by dangerous driving.
Occupants of other vehicles suffered injuries including whiplash, bruising and abdominal pain.
Sergeant Scott Lee-Amies, from the serious collision investigation team, said: "It is astonishing that somebody who drives for a living would behave so recklessly behind the wheel.
"Using a mobile phone while driving is one of the 'fatal four' factors that lead to serious collisions on our roads."
During the sentencing hearing, prosecutor Michael Crimp said Hogg had been travelling at a constant speed of 51mph for 36 miles before the collision, which he said could be explained by the driver using a mobile phone - kept in a cradle on the dashboard and capable of being operated with a Bluetooth earpiece.
He said one incoming call was received, and two outgoing calls made on the phone - lasting a total of more than 23 minutes - before the crash.
The last call, which connected a second after the impact, according to Mr Crimp: "Must have been initiated by picking up the handset and dialling the number."
Hogg initially claimed he applied the brakes before impact, and that he pulled over to make the calls, but on board technology, including a dash-cam, proved otherwise.
Mr Crimp read impact statements to the court on behalf of Mrs Snowling's family, including husband Shane, who said the couple had intended fulfilling a dream by renewing their wedding vows in a castle setting this year.
In the statement, he recalled encountering the crash scene while searching for his wife on the afternoon of the crash, before being called back home by one of his sons who had answered the door to police officers.
Mrs Snowling left behind three children, three stepchildren and three grandchildren.
Allan Compton, mitigating, said Hogg could not recall the specific circumstances, but did not challenge the explanation for being distracted at the wheel and remained "devastated" by the impact of his actions.
Judge Martyn Levett said the facts of the case told an "horrific tale" and presented a lesson for every motorist.
"The impact of this collision has been truly devastating," he added.
Judge Levett said he was bound by sentencing guidelines and could do nothing to outweigh the harm caused.
"No sentence can compensate for Amanda's loss," he concluded.
Following the hearing, Detective Constable Barry Teare said: "It's quite despicable that a so-called professional driver acted this way.
"It shows how much distraction a phone can cause - regardless of how you're using it."