Man jailed after fatal motorway collision

Friday, December 6, 2019

A man who killed a married couple in a motorway collision has been jailed.

James Nichol, 23, of Wesley Street, Ossett, Wakefield, was sentenced to eight years in prison at Preston Crown Court yesterday (Thursday, December 5) following the deaths of David Howard, 57 and Patricia Howard, 58, last year.

Police had been called around 9.55pm on November 11 following reports of an accident close to Junction 31a of the M6.

A vehicle had collided with the central reservation, stopping in lane three. A rolling road block was put in place, eventually bringing the northbound carriageway to a stop.

Motorists had been advised to reduce their speed while the vehicle was safely removed.

Mr Howard and Mrs Howard, from Lancaster, were travelling northbound in a Vauxhall Vectra car which had stopped in the queuing traffic.

Nichol, driving an Audi A4, approached the rear of the road block at speed before colliding with the Vauxhall.

Mrs Howard was sadly pronounced dead at the scene, with Mr Howard taken to Royal Preston Hospital. He sadly died a short time later.

The occupants of the Audi, three men and two women, made off from the scene and were later arrested.

The M6 northbound was closed for more than six hours while accident investigators attended.

Following investigation it was established Nichol had been driving the Audi. He was summoned to appear at court for causing death by dangerous driving, causing serious injury by dangerous driving, fraud and causing death by dangerous driving while uninsured.

Nichol pleaded guilty and was given an eight year prison sentence and banned from driving for 11 years.

Sgt David Hurst, of Lancashire Police’s Tactical Operations, said: “James Nichol showed a blatant disregard for other motorists, ignoring the warnings to slow down before colliding with the rear of Mr and Mrs Howard’s car.

“Both were sadly left fatally injured and my thoughts remain with them and their family at this difficult time.

“Nichol could offer no explanation for his reckless actions which have robbed a family of a much-loved mother and father.

“The significant sentence is a reminder to all motorists of the dangers such irresponsible driving can lead to.

“We welcome the sentence passed down by the judge, which clearly reflects the devastating outcome of an entirely preventable collision. We hope it will serve as a deterrent to those who choose to drive dangerously.”

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