A lorry driver scrolling through X-rated websites on his phone smashed into a traffic jam at 60mph, killing three people. Ion Nica Onut, 41, had been searching for ‘casual sexual partners’ for 40 MINUTES before crashing into a Vauxhall and a Toyota on the A1 in Co. Durham, a court heard today.
Investigators discovered he’d been “constantly” using his phone to access sites ‘Sh*g Today’ and ‘Mystic Match’ as he drove.
Paul Mullen, 51, and couple Elaine Sullivan, 59, and David Daglish, 57, were killed instantly as a fireball erupted and incinerated their vehicles on July 15. Durham Crown Court heard traffic on the major route was slow, with half-hour delays and a 50mph speed limit in place.
Prosecutor Nicholas Dry said another motorist became concerned about Onut’s driving after spotting his lorry swerving onto the hard shoulder and then back into the carriageway. Seconds later, he smashed into queuing traffic, killing his victims.
A judge heard the lorry “careered out of control, destroying everything in its path”.
The force of the impact pushed the HGV 100 metres on from the crash site.
Horrifying footage released today by cops shows the vehicle with its bonnet ablaze smashing onto the central reservation. Sun Online has chosen not to show the moment of impact.
As he was pulled from the cab, Onut was heard to say he had “no chance to stop”.
“Tragically, three motorists were found to have died at the scene,” Mr Dry said.
“The cause of the collision was investigated by specialist police who had access to witness accounts and evidence.
“It was caused by the defendant’s failure to pay attention to the road ahead.
“He was utterly oblivious to the stationary traffic.”
At the time he hit the stationary Vauxhall, the lorry was travelling at speeds just shy of 60mph, it was heard.
Between 5.39pm and the collision at 6.17pm, Onut’s phone had been in “constant use” as the defendant scrolled through two adult dating sites.
Mr Dry said: “He did so while driving at a speed which never went below 50mph.”
Onut, of Woodstock Avenue in Galashiels in Scotland, admitted three counts of causing death by dangerous driving.
Two other women – one of whom was pregnant – were also seriously hurt.
Junior Sullivan, the son of Ms Sullivan and stepson of Mr Daglish, said nothing in his 12-year military career had prepared him for the anguish of losing his parents.
“There are simply no words or actions that can do justice to the pain and suffering,” he told the court in a moving victim impact statement.
They never got to meet their beautiful granddaughter. My world shattered
“In that very moment, my world shattered. I couldn’t speak, couldn’t think. I couldn’t move.
“They never got the chance to see their beautiful granddaughter, who they were so looking forward to meeting.”
One of Mr Mullen’s daughters said: “It’s hard to put into words how much we miss our dad. “We looked up to him. He was the hardest working man I ever will know.”
Jailing the defendant for eight years and 10 months, Judge James Adkin told him: “You were not asleep at the wheel, but trawling the internet on dating sites looking for casual sexual partners.
“You had been seen driving erratically prior to the crash “You simply ploughed into stationary traffic at 58mph. “Needless to say, the consequences were catastrophic.” Onut was also banned from driving for 14 years and five years.