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YouTube car trap tanker driver cleared


John Tomlinson was cleared of wrongdoing after his tanker trapped a car

John Tomlinson was cleared of wrongdoing after his tanker trapped a car

John Tomlinson was cleared of wrongdoing after his tanker trapped a car

A tanker driver who was shown on YouTube driving along a motorway with a car trapped in front of his cab has been cleared of any wrongdoing.

John Tomlinson was praised for being "cool and calm" in a crisis during a Traffic Commission hearing to decide if he should keep his HGV licence.

Half a million YouTube fans have viewed the clip showing Mr Tomlinson's 40-tonne tanker pushing a Renault Clio at high speed along the A1 (M) in Yorkshire, which happened when the Clio driver attempted to undertake Mr Tomlinson's tanker in an "ill-advised" manoeuvre, the hearing before North West Traffic Commissioner Beverley Bell was told.

Sean Joyce, Mr Tomlinson's solicitor, described how Rhona Jane Williams, a vet from York, was joining the southbound carriageway of the A1 (M) at junction 44 when the incident happened at around 8.30am on January 13.

Quoting her statements to police, Mr Joyce explained that her lane of the slip road merged into the middle lane of the motorway. He added: "She saw Mr Tomlinson's HGV in the middle lane as she came off a slip road on to the carriageway.

"She was effectively performing an undertaking manoeuvre as she joined the lane."

Ms Williams told police she felt a "bump" as the vehicles came together and her car pivoted 90 degrees but Mr Tomlinson remained unaware of the incident and continued driving until a motorist in a 4x4 pulled ahead of the vehicles and began flashing his hazard lights.

Mr Joyce said: "Mr Tomlinson remains unable to offer any explanation simply because he was unaware of the collision. Taking into account he was driving a 44-tonne tanker, the Clio is a relatively small car.

"He was sat high up in the tractor unit which was extremely well insulated. He simply did not hear anything, see anything, or feel anything."

Mr Tomlinson, from Clitheroe, Lancashire, brought his lorry to a stop on the hard shoulder and only became aware of Ms Williams in the Clio when he got out of the vehicle and tried to free her, but the door was jammed so he reversed his tanker about three feet to release the car.