Bin lorry driver jailed after causing devastating injuries when he rolled truck at Sawtry

Single lorry RTC on the Old A1 road near Sawtry turn. EMN-170116-162204009
Single lorry RTC on the Old A1 road near Sawtry turn. EMN-170116-162204009

A Huntingdon bin lorry driver who caused life changing injuries to a colleague after a “devastating” crash has been sentenced to 20 months in prison.

The Huntingdonshire District Council bin lorry, being driven by 25-year-old Tomasz Ferlejkow, overturned on the southbound slip road of the A1(M) at Sawtry in January this year.

Tomasz Ferlejkow

Tomasz Ferlejkow

Ferlejkow escaped with only minor injuries but two colleagues of his were left with serious and life-changing injuries.

One man, named in court as Gary Cullen, was put in an induced coma following the accident. He attended Cambridge Crown Court in a wheelchair on Wednesday (September 27) to see Ferlejkow be sentenced.

The exact details of his injuries were not revealed to the court, but he was praised by Judge David Farrell QC for his dignity.

Ferlejkow, of Macbeth Close, previously pleaded guilty to causing serious injury by dangerous driving - and was handed 20 months in prison at the same court on Wednesday.

Single lorry RTC on the Old A1 road near Sawtry turn. EMN-170116-162221009

Single lorry RTC on the Old A1 road near Sawtry turn. EMN-170116-162221009

Nicola Devas, prosecuting, said the crash took place at 10.50am on January 16 this year, on the B1043 near Sawtry.

She said the lorry overturned about 150 metres before a roundabout, which was preceded by a right hand bend.

CCTV from the vehicle, which was not shown in court, noted the last recorded speed of the lorry before it overturned was 53mph.

Mrs Devas said: “In the lorry was a crew of three - this defendant, Gary Cullen who is in court today, and Roy Hastings.

Single lorry RTC on the Old A1 road near Sawtry turn. EMN-170116-162134009

Single lorry RTC on the Old A1 road near Sawtry turn. EMN-170116-162134009

“It’s right to say the three of them had not worked together as a crew before.

“The defendant approached the right hand bend too fast and lost control of the vehicle - as a result the vehicle rolled over and significant injuries were caused.”

As the bin lorry approached the roundabout, Mr Cullen asked Ferlejkow to slow down in a “slightly nervous tone” but this was ignored, the court was told.

As a result of the crash, Mr Cullen suffered “life-changing injuries of the most serious form” while Mr Hastings had numerous glass fragments in both eyes, cuts to his head, a dislocated right elbow and a large open wound on his knee.

Three people who stopped to help at the scene, Gary Carter, Jack Mockford and a nurse, were formally commended by Judge Farrell who said it was “very worthy and excellent” of them to have helped in “such traumatic circumstances”.

Diane Mundill, mitigating, said Ferlejkow recognised he had “significantly misjudged” his driving speed given the wet conditions, and has taken full responsibility for his actions.

She added: “The defendant has asked that I put forward his deepest apologies to Mr Cullen and his partner, his family, and all those affected by the incident.

“He says if he could just go back, re-do that day, he would. He is remorseful and deeply sorry for what he has caused.

“He is filled with guilt and remorse and he will live with this for the rest of his life, of course in a different way than Mr Cullen lives with it.

“He is a young man who has been a good member of the community via his employment and his lack of previous convictions.”

Miss Mundill said Ferlejkow lives with his mother, father and younger sister – who were now partly reliant on his wages.

Sentencing Ferlejkow, Judge Farrell said: “Nothing that I can do can turn the clocks back, or reflect the serious damage that you have caused to Mr Cullen’s life by your dangerous driving.

“Mr Cullen knew the road, and he expressed a verbal warning to you, but you ignored it.

“You continued onto the roundabout, losing control as a result of your excessive speed, causing the vehicle to turn onto its side, and throwing the passengers out.

“It’s clear to me that this is a case in which your driving created a substantial risk of danger.

“Taking all the factors into account, in my judgement, this offence is so serious that only immediate custody is appropriate.”