Lorry driver who caused devastating A1 crash speaks from prison cell
A lorry driver who killed three people in a collision has spoken out from his prison cell on the dangers of using a mobile phone while driving. Durham Constabulary have created a hard-hitting film to show the dangers of using a phone at the wheel in a bid to prevent further tragedies. Ion Onut was jailed for eight years following a devastating fatal incident in which he crashed a heavy goods vehicle into slow moving traffic while he was browsing the internet. The 42-year-old was charged with three counts of causing death by dangerous driving after the collision in July last year.
He has now spoken out from his jail cell for the film which shows the catastrophic consequences of his actions. READ MORE:Cleveland Police ‘committed’ to neighbourhood policing as recorded crimes hit two-year high The feature includes shocking dashcam footage of the incident which took place on the northbound carriageway of the A1(M).
In addition to Onut, there are moving interviews with witnesses and police officers, as well as Junior Sullivan, whose parents Elaine Sullivan and David Daglish died in the collision. “I have to live with this for the rest of my life,” said Onut. “I never had a chance to apologise, to say sorry for what I had done to those who lost their loved ones, the people who were injured, the ones who suffer from flashbacks.
Ion Onut was using his mobile phone to browse the internet when he crashed into an HGV and four cars (Image: Durham Constabulary)
“By being on my phone for a long period of time and then realising the traffic ahead of me had stopped, I had absolutely zero chance to act and pull my brakes on.” Onut’s Scania truck was travelling at 58mph when it struck another HGV and four cars before crashing into the central reservation where it burst into flames.
Members of the public rescued him from his burning cab before he was arrested by police at the scene. From his prison cell, he added: “It shows you how quickly it happens, and how quickly your life changes from being normal to now being in prison, having a sentence of eight years. I have never been involved in anything with the police before, and then for using your mobile phone at the wheel you are here, away from the real world and friends and family.”
“When I saw the videos of what happened it was unimaginable and hard to see. It was so disturbing knowing that was me in that lorry ploughing through the cars.”
Ion Onut has spoken from his jail cell to warn of the life-changing consequences of using a mobile phone while driving (Image: Durham Constabulary)
In addition to serving eight years and 10 months behind bars, Onut has also been disqualified from driving for more than 14 years. Witness Molly Smith, who was pregnant at the time of the incident, spoke about how she still has nightmares over a year later.
Detective Constable Natalie Horner, from Durham Constabulary’s Collision Investigation Unit, said: “Ion’s actions from that day caused far-reaching and heart-breaking consequences for all of those involved – the families and friends of those who tragically lost their lives, the people who witnessed the collision, and the emergency services who attended the horrific scene that day.” “Ion himself also has to live with the horror of knowing that two families have been ripped apart and will never be the same again as a result of his actions. “We hope this film highlights just how devastating using a mobile phone or other device at the wheel of a vehicle can be – in one split second, your life and other innocent people’s lives might never be the same again.
“Please, put the phone down while driving.”