Derbyshire Police have urged drivers not to use their phones while behind the wheel – stressing the potentially fatal consequences of becoming distracted.
In a bid to reinforce the message, Derbyshire Police have shared a video created by their colleagues in Durham after a lorry driver killed three people while using his mobile phone.
Ion Onut, 42, was using the internet on his phone when he crashed his Scania truck into slow moving traffic on the northbound carriageway of the A1(M) last July, killing three people and injuring several others.
Derbyshire's poshest village is named among England's most desirable places to live for second year running
Exact time thunderstorms could hit Chesterfield and Derbyshire – as Met Office extends yellow warning after heatwave
Environment Agency issue's flood alert for Chesterfield tonight
Suspected illegal immigrant panics and crashes car in Derbyshire after spotting police – who found huge five-figure sum in his boot
Police seize car from dodgy Derbyshire motorist – who had been driving without licence for 25 years
Now, in a bid to prevent further tragedies, Onut – from Galashiels in Scotland – has spoken out from his prison cell as part of a film highlighting the dangers of using a mobile phone at the wheel.
Created by Durham Constabulary’s media team, the film features moving interviews with Onut, several witnesses and police officers who attended the scene. Junior Sullivan, who lost his parents Elaine Sullivan and David Daglish in the collision, also took part.
Onut said: “I have to live with this for the rest of my life. I never had a chance to apologise, to say sorry for what I had done to those who lost their loved ones, the people who were injured, the ones who suffer from flashbacks.
“It shows you how quickly it happens, and how quickly your life changes from being normal to now being in prison, having a sentence of eight years. I have never been involved in anything with the police before, and then for using your mobile phone at the wheel you are here, away from the real world and friends and family.”
Onut’s vehicle was travelling at 58mph when it struck another HGV and four cars before coming to rest at the central reservation and bursting into flames.
He was rescued from his burning cab by members of the public and later arrested by police at the scene.
He was charged with three counts of causing death by dangerous driving, which he admitted, and was jailed for eight years and ten months. He was also disqualified from driving for more than 14 years.
Detective Constable Natalie Horner, from Durham Constabulary’s Collision Investigation Unit, said: “Ion’s actions from that day caused far-reaching and heart-breaking consequences for all of those involved – the families and friends of those who tragically lost their lives, the people who witnessed the collision, and the emergency services who attended the horrific scene that day.
“Ion himself also has to live with the horror of knowing that two families have been ripped apart and will never be the same again as a result of his actions.
“We hope this film highlights just how devastating using a mobile phone or other device at the wheel of a vehicle can be – in one split second, your life and other innocent people’s lives might never be the same again. Please, put the phone down while driving.”