Lorry driver cleared over M62 hen party crash

A LORRY driver has been cleared of causing death death by dangerous driving over a horror crash on the M62 which killed an 18-year-old woman.

Kevin Ollerhead at Leeds Crown Court. Picture: Ross Parry Agency
Kevin Ollerhead at Leeds Crown Court. Picture: Ross Parry Agency

Kevin Ollerhead was also cleared of an alternative charge of causing death by careless driving over the death of Bethany Jones.

Miss Jones was fatally injured and others were seriously hurt in the collision on the M62, near Pontefract.

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A jury at Leeds Crown Court took two hours to reach the verdicts following a two-week trial. Trainee nurse Miss Jones, from South Elmsall, was among 20 women travelling to a hen party in Liverpool when their coach – travelling at less than 6mph and with a badly burnt-out clutch – was hit by an articulated lorry driven at 52mph by Mr Ollerhead. Mr Ollerhead, 45, of Lincoln Crescent, St Helens, denied responsibility for the incident

Giving evidence during the trial he said he was a “professional driver”, adding there was nothing he could do to avoid the crash.

He said: “I never drive careless. I do not get angry. I’m a professional driver.” Mr Ollerhead, a former soldier, told the jury he had been returning from Humberside when the crash happened. He said there was nothing he could have done to avoid the accident.

“Everything stopped and froze,” Mr Ollerhead told the court. I think I braked, but I’m not sure. I was injured and bleeding. It felt as if I had been cut by hundreds of needles. I heard screaming coming from the minibus and I saw the devastation.” The coach driver, James Johnson, 64, of Whytecote End, Wyke, has pleaded guilty to causing death by dangerous driving. He will be sentenced on November 14.