Truck driver had his eyes off the road for '18 whole seconds' before crashing into elderly woman's car causing her death
Shocking dashcam footage has now emerged of a truck driver using his cell phone moments before he crashes into a line of traffic and ended up killing a 66-year-old woman.
34-year-old David Shields crashed his truck into the car of elderly mission worker Yvonne Blackman because he was too busy texting to notice that a line of traffic had formed in Dumfries in February last year. On September 28, prosecutors on the case released the footage of him checking his phone before realizing that he was going to crash into the traffic that came up ahead very fast. The man had previously pleaded guilty to causing Blackman's death by dangerous driving and has now been jailed for five years at the hearing at the High Court in Glasgow that took place on Friday.
The Daily Mail reported that Shields, who had previously served as a lance corporal in the Royal Highland Fusiliers in Iraq and Afghanistan, sobbed as he was being led to the cells in the courthouse. 78-year-old Ralph Blackman, Yvonne's husband of 38 years, has pleaded with the public to stop using their cell phones while driving.
In Feb 2017, Yvonne Blackman was waiting in stationary traffic on A75 Dumfries bypass when David Shields, who was driving a lorry & distracted by his mobile phone, failed to see the traffic ahead of him. He crashed into Yvonne's car & killed her. Today he was jailed for 5 years. pic.twitter.com/NdTTtpHdJO— DumfriesGPolice (@DumfriesGPolice) September 28, 2018
Ralph, who is from Lockerbie and who has also been an HGV driver for 40 years, said in an interview: "I hope this sentence deters any drivers from doing the same. They should realize the suffering and hurt it causes to the victim's family. I've was a professional driver for 40 years and I've never used my mobile phone. If I'm driving I just let it ring. I know the dangers and other drivers should know the dangers. Only a second's inattention can be dangerous and he had 18 seconds with his eyes off the road."
Yvonne was a mother-of-four and she and Ralph have 18 grandchildren and two great-grandchildren. Ralph said: "She was very bubbly and fun-loving. She had a long life to live."
The court also heard that, just before the horrific crash took place, the recovery driver had been focused only on the cell phone which had been dash-mounted to the cab of his truck. Moments before the crash took place, Shields' attention had been on his phone and he did not notice the line of traffic in front. He also did not react to the situation fast enough when he did notice the traffic.
The footage from inside the cab of the truck showed the driver checking his phone for almost 18 seconds before the crash took place. The truck crashed into the rear of Yvonne's car which caused it to crash into the rear of the car in front of hers. The elderly woman's vehicle was then pushed into the wrong side of the road from the momentum of Shields' truck where it was hit again by his vehicle.
The head of the Scottish fatalities investigation unit, David Green, said: "David Shields's dangerous driving has irrevocably damaged many lives and our thoughts go to the family of Yvonne Blackman. Driving while handling a mobile phone, in any context, is illegal and dangerous, and can have the most serious of consequences."
The crash took place on the A75 Gretna to Stranraer Road close to its junction with Lockerbie Road roundabout in Dumfries on February 8, 2017. Yvonne had been on her way to meet fellow volunteers at the time that the unfortunate incident took place. She suffered from major injuries and died in the hospital on February 22, 2017.
Shields has since been disqualified from driving for seven and a half years.