Lorry driver on cocaine binge 'comedown' killed father-of-two
Lorry driver on cocaine binge ‘comedown’ killed father-of-two when his 7.5-ton truck ploughed into Peugeot, court hears as he is jailed for more than four years
- Bradley Simmonds ploughed into the back of Luc Brou’s Peugeot In August 2021
- Mr Brou broke down in the outside lane of A299, near St Nicholas-as-Wade, Kent
- 49-year-old consumed a large amount of cocaine three days before the crash
A lorry driver was on a cocaine ‘come-down’ when his 7.5-tonne truck ploughed into a stationary car, killing a dad-of-two.
Bradley Simmonds, 49, failed to take evasive action when the skip lorry he was driving ploughed into the back of Luc Brou’s Peugeot, causing the car to ‘explode’ into the air.
And the court heard that he was also convicted for possessing cocaine whilst on bail over the death of Mr Brou.
Mr Brou’s heartbroken partner told of the despair she and her children faced since the fateful day when he ‘left for work and never returned.’
He is understood to have broken down in the outside lane of the A299, near St Nicholas-as-Wade, Kent on the afternoon of August 16, 2021.
Bradley Simmonds, 49, failed to take evasive action when the skip lorry he was driving ploughed into the back of Luc Brou’s Peugeot
Having consumed a large amount of cocaine three days before the crash, Simmonds’ white DAF skip loader smashed into the back of Mr Brou’s vehicle, causing him devastating injuries.
Relaying an eye-witness account, prosecutor Martin Yale told Canterbury Crown Court: ‘I was in the inside lane and I could see the lorry approaching the stationary car and I hoped no-one was inside it.
‘It smashed into the back of the car and the car exploded into the air, sending dust and debris flying.
‘The driver of the skip lorry must have had 100 yards or more to see the car, but he just didn’t react.
‘I kept wondering why the lorry didn’t pull out or brake, he must have been distracted.’
Mr Brou, a French national who lived in Sidcup, Kent, sustained fatal injuries.
Simmonds, of West Kingsdown, near Sevenoaks, Kent, initially claimed the car had come across in front of him.
But his account proved inconsistent with dash-cam footage.
Simmonds initially denied causing death by careless driving while under the influence of drugs, but later changed his plea to guilty.
Although he did not have any active ingredients of cocaine in his system at the time of the crash, the court heard he had more than ELEVEN times the legal limit of benzoylecgonine, a chemical which indicated he had taken the Class A drug before the fatal collision.
Backed up by evidence from a medical expert, Mr Yale argued the Simmonds was experiencing withdrawal effects, which impaired his ability to drive.
He said: ‘If a person binges on cocaine, when they stop using it, they can have a come-down crash such that they experience exhaustion, drowsiness and poor concentration.
‘The absence of any evasive action are clearly indicative of Mr Simmonds experiencing a come-down crash.’
The court heard a victim impact statement from Mr Brou’s widow, Chandon Lolo, who described the despair both she and her children have faced.
Mr Brou is understood to have broken down in the outside lane of the A299, near St Nicholas-as-Wade, Kent on the afternoon of August 16, 2021
Ms Lolo said: ‘He simply went to work one day and never returned and it breaks our hearts on a daily basis.
‘It doesn’t get easier, even two years on – you just learn to cope.
‘Whenever he got home from work he would light up the room, he was such a family man, but since the accident our home address hasn’t felt like a home.
‘Even though he is no longer with us, Luc still lives on. We hope that justice will be done and that our husband and dad will rest in peace.’
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Philippa McAtasney KC, in mitigation, said Simmonds had admitted taking cocaine on the Friday before the offence but had failed to consider it might still affect his ability to drive three days later.
She said: ‘Mr Simmonds did not expect the vehicle to be stationary on the road.
‘He tragically failed to see the Peugeot until it was too late and he is genuinely remorseful.
‘He has the sole care of his elderly mother and six dependent children who range in age from three to 16.’
Judge Mark Weekes jailed Simmonds for four-and-a-half years and banned him from driving or applying for a new licence for eight years and three months.
Sentencing Simmonds, the judge told him: ‘You have five previous convictions for related offences, including having been sentenced in September 2023 for the possession of cocaine while you were on bail for this offence in which cocaine played a role.
‘You chose to get behind the wheel of a lorry in the course of your employment and that decision was to have catastrophic consequences.
‘Your actions have resulted in the needless and tragic death of a much-loved husband and father.
‘All drivers need to be aware of the need not to drive tired, and you as the driver of a large, potentially dangerous vehicle should have been all the more aware.’
Detective Constable Claire Fullagar, of Kent Police’s Serious Collision Investigation Unit, said: ‘This devastating incident has caused immeasurable grief to the victim’s family, who our specialist officers continue to support, and shows the catastrophic consequences of taking drugs.’
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