Lorry driver claimed 'sneezing fit' led to him causing crash which killed driver on A1

Police say crash is ‘stark warning to all road users’

By Stephen Briggs
Tuesday, 3rd May 2022, 4:13 pm

An experienced lorry driver claimed a sneezing fit led to him ploughing into the back of a car on the A1, killing its driver.

Raymond Buff, 55, failed to stop for stationary traffic on the southbound carriageway near Eaton Socon at about 6.40pm on 9 December, 2019.

Buff’s HGV collided with the rear of a silver Volkswagen Golf being driven by 39-year-old Matthew Mitchell, of Emlyns Gardens, Stamford.

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Buff has been jailed for nine months after causing a crash which killed Matthew Mitchell

The impact was so severe it caused the Volkswagen to spin around 180 degrees and collide with three other vehicles.

Mr Mitchell was taken to Addenbrooke’s Hospital in Cambridge for treatment but died the following day.

When speaking to officers at the scene Buff claimed he had had a sneezing fit which prevented him from seeing the traffic in time.

Buff, of New Chester Road, Birkenhead, Merseyside, admitted causing death by careless driving.

Today (3 May) at Peterborough Crown Court he was jailed for nine months. He was also disqualified from driving for a year.

Detective Sergeant Mark Dollard said: “Buff claimed he failed to react to congested traffic owing to a sneezing fit. This highlights the importance of being always aware of your surroundings while driving, and this is even more important if you are driving a lorry.

“Buff never intended to cause such devastation that evening, but his actions did just that and they should be a stark warning to all road users. You have a responsibility to always take care and drive safely.”