Shocking footage shows moment texting lorry driver crashes into prison van

28 July 2021, 11:22 | Updated: 28 July 2021, 11:35

EJ Ward

By EJ Ward

Police have released shocking dashcam footage of the moment a lorry driver, distracted by his mobile phone, crashed into the back of a prison van in Sussex.

59-year-old Derek Holland from Seaford, who admitted his driving had been "atrocious", has been disqualified from driving and jailed for three-and-a-half years.

Three people were injured after the collision on the A27 near Lewes last August.

Holland had been driving for four hours before the collision happened.

The prosecution claimed during those four hours Holland had used his mobile phone almost "persistently".

The lorry driver wasn't using his seatbelt and had used a device to stop the alarm from sounding.

Two cameras fitted to his cab show him distracted and bending forward to send and receive messages, until the collision just outside Lewes on the A27.

Holland had driven at speed into the back of a prison security van that had broken down on the dual carriageway just outside Lewes.

The prison van driver, escort officer, and prisoner all sustained serious injuries.

Police reviewed footage captured by two cameras fitted to the vehicle driven Holland who recorded 42 separate incidents of poor driving during his four-hour journey prior to the collision.

Detectives said this included almost persistent use of his mobile phone while not wearing a seatbelt, and taking both hands off the wheel to peel a banana and to wave at traffic lights.

Holland was charged with dangerous driving, and three counts of causing serious injury by dangerous driving.

In interview, he admitted his behaviour was “atrocious”.

Holland pleaded guilty to all four charges and appeared before Hove Crown Court on Tuesday 27 July, where he was sentenced to three-and-a-half years’ imprisonment.

Holland pleaded guilty to all four charges and appeared before Hove Crown Court on Tuesday 27 July, where he was sentenced to three-and-a-half years’ imprisonment.
Holland pleaded guilty to all four charges and appeared before Hove Crown Court on Tuesday 27 July, where he was sentenced to three-and-a-half years’ imprisonment. Picture: Sussex Police
Sussex Police released the shocking footage
Sussex Police released the shocking footage. Picture: Sussex Police

Detective Sergeant Rob Baldwin, of the Serious Collision Investigations Unit, said: "This is the worst case of prolonged distracted driving that I have seen. This was very much aggravated by the fact that Holland had responsibility for driving a large goods vehicle, and he would have been well aware of the risks he was taking. He showed a complete disregard for the safety of other road users."

He added: "It was fortunate that the company had installed cameras on their lorry, which allowed us to examine the driver's actions. The company fully co-operated with our investigation."