Man jailed for fatal A1 collision

A driver of an HGV has been jailed for colliding with a JCB on a busy dual carriageway - killing the driver instantly.

Monday, 13th March 2017, 3:30 pm
Updated Friday, 24th March 2017, 10:03 am
Steve Clarehugh

John Rogerson, 72, has been sentenced to 28 months imprisonment and disqualified from driving for six years, two months following the incident two miles south of Alnwick on the A1 on December 9, 2015.

He had been travelling down from Scotland when he failed to spot the JCB vehicle being driven by 54-year-old Stephen Clarehugh.

Emergency services rushed to his aid but sadly the father-of-two was pronounced dead at the scene by paramedics.

An investigation was launched by Northumbria Police’s Motor Patrols department at which point Rogerson failed a mandatory eye test.

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Now Senior Investigating Officer Sergeant, Jason Ryder, has commented on the custodial sentence handed down by the judge at Newcastle Crown Court today.

He said: “This was yet another avoidable death on the roads that has robbed a family of a loving father, grandfather and husband and changed their lives forever.

“The mandatory eye test shows that John Rogerson wasn’t fit to drive and the fact that he was behind the wheel of an HGV is particularly shocking for me”

“All of us, as drivers, have a huge responsibility every time we take to the road. If you are not fit to drive it can have devastating consequences as we have seen in this case.

“I want to appeal to any driver who knows or believes they may not be medically fit to drive, to stop and think about their responsibility and seek the appropriate help.

“I also want to appeal to friends and families of drivers, who feel they are not fit to drive, to encourage them to seek the appropriate medical assistance.”

“Too many times officers are having to speak about collisions that could have been prevented if drivers had given consideration to fellow road users.

“I want to praise the bravery of Stephen’s family through what must have been a very testing year.

“Hopefully this collision can make road users in the same position as Mr Rogerson think twice about getting behind the wheel.”

In a family statement, Stephen’s wife, Fiona Clarehugh, paid tribute to the father-of-two and grandfather-of-one who was well known in North East to flying and Microlight Communities following his time as an instructor.

She said: “It is such a bitter irony that a man who spent thousands of hours safely teaching people to fly, in an environment thought by so many to be so dangerous, should be tragically killed in a road traffic accident – so much life, ended in the blink of an eye.

“Steve was a very special person to whom everyone instantly warmed. He was a larger than life character who touched so many people with his fabulous zest for life and his great sense of humour. However, if I could use one word to describe him it would be ‘mischievous’.

“He did what he wanted to do and was passionate about, living life to the full – he was a self made man in the true sense of the word. He was a big man with big hands that loved his food, beer and whisky and embraced life.

“Steve’s death saddened more than a community, hundreds of sympathy cards, letters and flowers were delivered. Over 1,000 people attended his funeral, which was held in an aircraft hanger.

“We will miss his humour, his loyalty, his love and his friendship, his integrity, his wisdom, his ability to do the right thing and his... mischievousness.”

If you know anyone who is not fit to get behind the wheel then you can report them to police by calling 101 and asking to speak to the Op Dragoon team.

For further information about driving when you have a medical condition visit the DVLA website here: https://www.gov.uk/driving-medical-conditions/telling-dvla-about-a-medical-condition-or-disability