VIDEO: German lorry driver jailed following fatal smash near Dartford Crossing (From This Is Local London)
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VIDEO: German lorry driver Anton Maizen jailed following fatal smash near Dartford Crossing
THIS shocking video shows how a tired lorry driver left one man dead, two people seriously injured and caused a ten car pile-up on the M25 because he failed to stop and take a break.
Anton Maizen, 58, from Wixhausen, Germany, caused utter carnage and devastation after his 40-tonne articulated lorry ploughed into a line of stationary traffic on the motorway, close to the Dartford Crossing.
The road was shut for nine hours following the smash, blocking access to the QE2 Bridge.
On Friday, Basildon Crown Court heard Maizen had only stopped for just a few minutes’ break despite driving for nearly 23-hours.
He had set off from his native Germany on April 1 this year, heading for the UK to make several deliveries.
The stepdad-of-two drove from Germany, through the Channel Tunnel, to South West London, before heading to Licolnshire and finally - nearly 24-hours later - on April 2, heading back on the M25 to make his way home.
As he headed along the M25, the court heard Maizen was so tired he failed to spot several signs warning of the queues miles ahead on the approach to the Dartford Crossing.
He even ignored flashing messages to drivers to reduce their speed.
At around 12.20pm that day, the court heard Maizen began to approach junction 30 - the exit slip for Lakeside and the A13 driving on the inside lane.
Prosecutor James Hughes said the inside lane of the motorway, which becomes the slip road, was virtually at a standstill due to the volume of traffic.
He said several motorists had not only stopped but were also flashing their hazard warning lights to warn motorists approaching that the traffic was at a standstill.
Despite this, he said Maizen failed to even spot the traffic and continued to head towards the stationary line of cars on the inside lane at 56mph.
He only began braking when it was too late - just 26 metres before he hit the first car.
The court heard he first hit a black A Class Mercedes - driven by Basildon woman Carole Boulton.
That car then ploughed into the black BMW 3 Series immediately in front.
Mr Hughes said, with the momentum of the crash, both the BMW and Mercedes, made contact with a lorry in front of the BMW.
With that impact the BMW was then “spat out “ into the second lane into the path of an oncoming lorry, which was travelling at 50mph.
That lorry hit the BMW but, miraculously, the car’s occupants - a mum and her six-year-old son walked away unscathed.
However as the driver of the lorry tried to avoid hitting the BMW, he swerved into the stationary line of traffic on the slip road.
His vehicle slid between another lorry and the Mercedes, before ploughing into the side of a Renault Clio driven by 79-year-old Ronald Moughton.
Mr Moughton, from Ilford, died from his injuries whilst his son Keith, who was the front seat passenger in the car, suffered serious injuries.
The court heard police arrested Maizen.
When he was searched in custody at Basildon police station they found he had screwed up and hidden a tacograph - which records drivers’ hours - in his sock.
It showed he had dramatically breached his driving hours.
He later admitted flouting the law by driving for 22 hours and 44 minutes without a break but he told police he felt “alright” to drive.
Under legislation for commerical drivers, they must take a nine-hour break after every nine-hours of driving.
Both Carole Boulton and Keith Moughton were left in a serious condition in hospital and both have undergone operations on their extensive injuries.
Sentencing Maizen to four-and-a-half years, Judge Owen Davies said: “It’s difficult to give you credit for the contention that you felt you were alright to drive.
“There is no such person fit to be in charge of a 40-tonne lorry after driving for 22-hours and 44-minutes.
“Those few seconds on April 2 changed the lives of totally innocent, well meaning people who were driving responsibly and that damage cannot be undone by anything the courts can say.”
Maizen, who admitted one count of causing death by dangerous driving and two counts of causing serious injury by dangerous driving, was also given a five-year driving ban.
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