Lorry driver jailed for 30 months after crash injured schoolgirl

Lorry driver, 53, who left eight-year-old girl unable to think, walk or talk after smashing into family’s car on the hard shoulder at 55mph is jailed for 30 months

  • Dominic Nicholls smashed into a stationary Nissan X-Trail 
  • The crash left an eight-year-old girl ‘unable to think, walk or talk’ 
  • Now ten, the schoolgirl will need care for the rest of her life, police said

A lorry driver who crashed into the back of a family car on the M42 leaving an eight-year-old schoolgirl unable to ‘think, talk or walk again’ has been sentenced to two-and-a-half years in jail. 

Dominic Nicholls, 53, smashed into a stationary Nissan X-Trail which was on the hard shoulder with a family still inside. The car had broken down on the motorway in Warwickshire on April 28, 2022.

The little girl, now ten from Stafford, was taken to Birmingham Children’s Hospital with life-threatening injuries and sadly she needs care for the rest of her life, leaving the family devastated in the wake of the 55mph crash. 

Her mother and father were also seriously hurt while their son sustained minor injuries. 

Nicholls, from Ipswich, was about a minute behind and ‘for reasons unknown’, his lorry drifted on to the hard shoulder and collided with the rear of the X-Trail before the family had time to exit the vehicle, Warwick Crown Court heard. 

The family were returning to Staffordshire from Heathrow Airport after a holiday in Sri Lanka when the crash took place on the northbound carriageway just before midnight.

Dominic Nicholls, 53, smashed into a stationary Nissan X-Trail which was on the hard shoulder with a family still inside. Emergency services found the car smashed and off road 

Nicholls, of Inkerman Terrace, Ipswich, pleaded guilty to three counts of dangerous driving causing serious injury at a previous hearing. 

At hearing on October 19, he was sentenced to 30 months in jail, disqualified from holding or obtaining a driving licence for seven years and will have to pass an extended test to drive again. He was also ordered to pay a £190 victim surcharge.

Police said dashcam footage from the HGV shows Nicholls made no attempt to brake or take an avoiding action prior to the collision.

PC Craig Pearson, of Warwickshire Police’s serious collision investigation unit, described the incident as a ‘very sad and tragic case’.

He said: ‘Mr Nicholls has never provided an explanation for why he allowed his HGV to travel directly onto the hard shoulder towards the family’s X-Trail car.

‘The overall responsibility for the speed and control of the vehicle must lay entirely within the hands of its driver – Dominic Nicholls.

‘The standard of driving falls far below that expected of a careful and competent driver. We hope this sentence brings some comfort to the family whose lives have been devastated by what happened that day.’

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