A motorway worker suffered serious spinal injuries when a lorry drifted on to the hard shoulder of the M56 in Cheshire and ploughed into his stationary van.
Alan Campbell, 57, a gantry matrix sign inspector, had just got back into his Ford Transit and was putting on his seat belt when the collision occurred.
Dramatic dash cam footage from a lorry travelling behind the HGV was played at Liverpool Crown Court on Tuesday (August 7) when the driver, Trevor Johnson, appeared for sentence.
The footage showed him driving normally in the slow lane at between 49-53 mph after joining the motorway at junction 7 and heading eastwards.
But as he proceeded along he drifted on to the hard shoulder, went back on to the roadway and then drifted on to the hard shoulder again and struck the van, said Philip Clemo, prosecuting.
Mr Campbell, a keen runner and cricket enthusiast, suffered two fractured vertebrae and was taken to Wythenshawe Hospital before being transferred to Salford General for an MRI which confirmed his injuries.
He was detained in hospital for ten days after the accident, which occurred just after 1pm on December 8, 2016.
Mr Campbell, a committee member of Congleton Cricket Club, was off work for three months and even now cannot turn his head from side to side properly and has had to give up his hobby of running.
The court heard that when spoken to at the scene by police, 59-year-old Johnson said: “I just don’t know what happened. I may have been looking at my map or changing the radio, I don’t know.”
Johnson, of Haighton Court, Nantwich, pleaded guilty to causing serious injury by dangerous driving.
Sentencing him to 18 months imprisonment suspended for two years, Judge Rachel Smith said, “The whole incident lasted under 20 seconds.”
She told him that she accepted his remorse was genuine and that the incident has changed his outlook on life. He is also the sole carer for his daughter and no longer drives.
Judge Smith also ordered him to carry out 120 hours unpaid work and 20 days rehabilitation activities.
Tom Gent, defending, said Johnson, who has no previous convictions, had been travelling slower than the maximum he was allowed. About a third of his Daf vehicle had drifted on to the hard shoulder for 15 seconds before going back onto the roadway and then back on the hard shoulder for three seconds before the impact.
He explained he had been up since 3.15am to start work just after 4.30am and had driven to Kendal and back before returning to his depot at Crewe. He was asked to collect a trailer from Altrincham and as he did not feel tired he agreed and had been on his way for half an hour when the crash happened.
“He had no recollection of veering into the hard shoulder until the collision occurred,” said Mr Gent.
He voluntarily stopped driving soon after that day and now works for the same employers as a warehouseman and still has to face disciplinary action. If he was jailed it would severely impact on his daughter, he added.