Lorry driver banned over fatal crash

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Brooks appeared before Exeter Magistrates' Court - Credit: PA

A lorry driver has been banned from driving after a crash which caused the death of a funeral worker on a busy main road in Exeter.

Undertaker’s assistant Chris Barlow, aged 66, suffered head, rib and leg injuries in the collision when the truck failed to brake in time and ran into the back of his moped, pushing him into a car in front of him.

The collision happened on the Topsham Road on April 21 last year and Chris died 10 days later on May 1, 2021, at Derriford Hospital, Plymouth, from complications from surgery.

Lorry driver Lee Brooks, 29, of Old Park Avenue, Broadclyst, who worked for the Crediton Milling Company, admitted causing death by careless driving when he appeared at Exeter Magistrates' Court.

He was ordered to do 100 hours of unpaid community work under a two-year community order. He was also banned from driving for 18 months and told to pay £180 costs.

Magistrates said it was a tragic case.

Mr Barlow’s wife Heather made a moving statement to the court in which she told how retired RAF serviceman Chris was her soulmate and a well-loved person. 

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She said he had only one funeral on the day of the collision and was riding his moped to work when he sustained the fatal injuries.

She said it was a tragic accident and accepted that Mr Brooks' life had also been turned upside down by the death.

She said Mr Barlow had inspired her to do her job as a manager of the critical care team at the Royal Devon and Exeter Hospital.

She said Chris had been 'so well' the day before he suffered a cardiac arrest and died in hospital. She described his death as devastating.

The court heard Brooks, who has no previous convictions, had a 'momentary lapse of concentration' and had misjudged the speed of the traffic ahead of him.

The court heard had an impeccable driving record before this tragic accident which will 'live with him for the rest of his life'.