Tuffley grandmother Barbara Chatterton died after van driver missed M5 warning signs
POWERLESS to shift her broken-down car from the middle of the M5, a grandmother was killed when a careless driver's lorry careered into her.
Ukrainian van driver Yuriy Lopatyuk missed two flashing signs warning that lanes two and three were closed after Barbara Chatterton's Mazda MX-5 broke down near Strensham.
Her son Chris, a city councillor, was at Worcester Crown Court yesterday to see Lopatyuk sentenced to 12 months' jail, suspended for 18 months.
"We are not vengeful, it was never about that," he said afterwards. "We are grateful he pleaded guilty and he accepted responsibility for what he has done and has apologised. It's of no consequence to us what the sentence was." Lopatyuk was travelling at 70mph and, by the time he saw her hazard lights flashing, it was too late. Mrs Chatterton, a mother of three and gran of six from Tuffley, was 62.
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Lopatyuk, 35, admitted causing death by careless driving.
Paul Whitfield, prosecuting, told the court Mrs Chatterton was unaware her car had overheated because the temperature sensor was not working, due to a low coolant level, so the car quickly lost power.
"She was forced to come to a stop in the middle lane," he said. "She was immediately on the phone to police, and could not get out of the car."
After the breakdown, at around 10pm on July 20, 130 cars went by in just a few minutes, including one which clipped the central reservation then crossed all three lanes and the hard shoulder.
"It must have been terrifying for her," said the judge, His Honour Robert Juckes QC.
Ian Bridges defending, said Lopatyuk, a dad of one, was genuinely remorseful.
"He is a thoroughly decent man who has experienced the death of his brother in a road crash, which makes it all the more difficult to bear," said Mr Bridges. "The reality is he lost concentration for seven to 14 seconds. The consequences were disastrous for Mrs Chatterton and her family."
Lopatyuk was also banned from driving for 18 months, must do 300 hours of unpaid work and pay £1,200 towards prosecution costs.