Cambridgeshire man jailed following fatal and “completely avoidable” crash in Mendlesham after blacking out behind the wheel
A lorry driver who caused the death of a motorist after blacking out behind the wheel in Mendlesham has been jailed.
Dalius Matulaitis, of Rectory Gardens, Wisbech, was sentenced to four years’ imprisonment and disqualified from driving for five years at Ipswich Crown Court today, following the accident earlier this year.
I hope other motorists reading of this case will think twice before continuing to drive if they do not feel capable of doing so and avert further needless deaths from occurring
The 51-year-old had previously pleaded guilty to the charges of causing death by dangerous driving and causing serious injury by dangerous driving.
Colin Fisk, 43, from Kesgrave, was killed in the collision, while his seven-year-old daughter, who was a passenger in his car, sustained two broken collar bones.
Matulaitis was arrested by police following the three car crash on the A140 near Brockford, which involved two lorries and a Renault Megane, which happened at about 11.20am on Tuesday, July 25.
Both lorry drovers sustained minor injuries and were taken to hospital by land ambulance for treatment.
Matulaitis was arrested after being discharged from hospital later on the same day of the incident. He was taken to Martlesham Police Investigation Centre for questioning and admitted being at fault for the collision during his initial interview.
In his account, Matulaitis said that he had picked his lorry up in Felixstowe that morning and driven to Norwich to collect a load. Whilst waiting for his trailer to be loaded he began to feel unwell and had blackouts.
Upon leaving the loading point, he said he pulled over and drank some water and then felt better and set-off on his return journey to Felixstowe. However, he began to feel unwell again about 15 minutes prior to the collision, suffering further blackouts which caused him to swerve the lorry from side to side.
At this point he said he then began looking for a lay-by to pull over in, but before he was able to do so the collision occurred. His lorry veered onto the northbound carriageway of the A140, colliding with another lorry in the first instance and then the Renault Megane being driven by Colin Fisk, which overturned into a ditch and was then crushed by the lorry being driven by Matulaitis.
Detective Inspector Chris Hinitt, of the Serious Collision Investigation Team, said: “This tragedy was completely avoidable and highlights the extreme dangers of continuing to drive if you are not feeling well enough to do so – even more so when in charge of a heavy goods vehicle.
“Dalius Matulaitis should not have got back into the cab of his lorry after suffering his first blackout in Norwich. His decision to do so and then to not stop immediately after he suffered another blackout on the journey back to Felixstowe is one that he will have to live with for the rest of his life.
“It was a decision that resulted in a seven-year-old girl losing her father and suffering serious injuries herself. I cannot begin to imagine the trauma that she and the rest of Colin Fisk’s loved ones have endured.
“Dalius Matulaitis has shown remorse for his actions on that day and by admitting his guilt immediately, he has at least spared Colin Fisk’s family the further pain of a trial and I hope they can now begin the process of rebuilding their lives.
“The ‘fatal four’ primary causes of serious and fatal collisions are well publicised – speeding, drink-driving, using a mobile phone and not wearing a seatbelt – but other factors such as feeling unwell or tired are just as dangerous, as has so starkly been highlighted in this case.
“I hope other motorists reading of this case will think twice before continuing to drive if they do not feel capable of doing so and avert further needless deaths from occurring.”