Thu, 09 Apr 2015
A survivor of the Hungerford tragedy has spoken of how a refuse lorry driver crashed into his car while the driver was using a mobile phone, leaving him with brain damage and killing his passenger, and has left him as devastated as when he was shot by multiple killer Michael Ryan 30 years ago.
Retired ambulance driver Michael Jennings, of Priory Road, Hungerford, made the revelation after Adam Lipowski, of Walmer Road, Reading, was convicted of causing death by dangerous driving at a recent hearing at Oxford Crown Court.
On September 11, 2013, Mr Lipowski was driving the refuse lorry while using a mobile phone on the A4074 towards Reading when he slammed into the back of Mr Jennings’ car, shunting it into the path of an oncoming Ford Focus, and killing Mr Jennings’ passenger Andy Evans (pictured), aged 56, from Thatcham.
The car was waiting to turn into the entrance of the Oratory School, Woodcote, when the 15-tonne refuse lorry crashed into the back of the Subaru at 36 mph, in a 30mph zone.
The crash left the 69-year-old grandfather of five with brain damage, deep vein thrombosis in his left leg and a blood clot in his lungs.
“I doubt I will ever fully recover from this crash,” said Mr Jennings, who was shot in the leg during the 1987 Hungerford tragedy in which 16 people were killed.
“Spending years as an ambulance technician shows you there are always people worse off than you. I try to be positive, but this crash has changed my life.
“The consequences of the brain injury are significant. It is more obvious to my friends and family, particularly my wife Christine, but I’ve become much more impatient, frustrated and easier to anger after this.
“This has also had a devastating impact on the family of my colleague Andy Evans, who died. Our thoughts are with them.”
Speaking after the conviction, widow Sally Evans said justice had been done.
“We clearly hope that this will be a lesson for anyone using a mobile phone while driving,” she said.
“The pain and suffering this mindless act has caused will never end for us.”
Mr Jenning’s lawyer, Matthew Claxson, said: “The evidence which emerged throughout this trial illustrates just how lethal excess speed, inattenton, mobile phone use by drivers can be. In a split second it destroys lives.
“This crash has had a profound effect, not only on Mr Jennings, but also his family.
“Mr Jennings now has to live with the emotional and physical consequences of this.”
Senior investigating officer Richard Thorpe, from the serious collision investigation unit, said: “A man lost his life due to the actions of Lipowski, who throughout the trial has refused to accept responsibility for causing Mr Evans’ death.
“Lipowski's dangerous driving has had a devastating impact on a family and while there is nothing which will make up for their loss, I hope that the conviction gives them some sense of justice.”
Mr Jennings has since launched civil action against Mr Lipowski, who is to be sentenced on May 5 at Oxford Crown Court.