Family feel "let down my the legal system" after Aylesbury grandmother is killed in M3 Lorry crash
A devastated son has spoken of his family's pain after a man was jailed over the crash which killed his mother.
Susan Curtis, 68, from Broughton in Aylesbury and Michael James, 77 was killed by John Rodgers, 65, who has been jailed for dangerous driving.
He was sentenced at Winchester Crown Court on January 18.
The charges follow a serious road traffic collision in which Michael James, 77, of Broadstone, Dorset and Susan Curtis, 67, of Aylesbury both died when their Audi Q3 was crushed between two lorries on the northbound M3 between junction 9 at Winnal and junction 10 at Winchester
The court heard how the DAF XF Articulated lorry being driven by Mr Rogers collided with the rear of Mr James’s Audi, shunting it into the rear of a Renault lorry, which subsequently collided with the rear of an ERF lorry.
Michael James, 77, and his passenger Susan Curtis, 67, were returning from a holiday in June 2017.
They were both pronounced dead at the scene. Mr Rodgers was taken to Southampton General Hospital by Air Ambulance but was later discharged the same day.
HGV driver John Rogers, 65, told police Mr James had "whipped" in front of him, when he had in fact been following him for more than a minute.
Mr Rodgers was living in Alicante, Spain at the time of the incident but is now believed to be living in Aberdare, Mid Glamorgan, Wales.
He changed his plea to guilty following a hearing at Winchester Crown Court on December 10, 2018.
The family said in a statement that they are outraged, shocked that "a 'so called' professional HGV driver of 18 years could be in control of such a large articulated lorry and not pay any attention for 9 seconds on a carriageway doing that speed.
Rogers failed to respond for nine seconds to traffic slowing on the northbound approach to junction nine, Winchester Crown Court heard.
Mrs Curtis' son, Michael Chapman said " travelling that distance and at that speed, a tremendous amount of road is covered by a standard car let alone a HGV lorry.
"When returning home we counted this time and the results truly put 'tingles down my spine' that one could not have paid any attention to the traffic or other road users in front of them for that long.
"To receive such little sentencing for the life of our mother and the lengthy, drawn out period for sentencing due to Mr Roger's inability to take any responsibility, I sincerely feel that the legal system has let us down.
"Whilst nothing will bring our mother back he is still able to see his family, his 8 grandchildren grow up and enjoy his retirement in a matter of years- he has taken that privilege away from us and also Mr Michael's James family and left us all with great loss and sadness".
The court heard John Rodgers told horrified witnesses who rushed to help: “This is all I need – it’s my first day back from holiday.”
In statements read out in court, the family of Mr James, said the father-of two would be "terribly missed by so many" and Michael Chapman, said the tragedy had caused him lasting "shock, confusion and pain".
Rogers, from Tredegar, South Wales, was jailed for four years and eight months.
He previously admitted two counts of causing death by dangerous driving.
His fully-laden articulated lorry crashed at 52mph into the back of Mr James' Audi Q3 at 10:20 BST on 5 June.
The impact forced the lorry into the back of the HGV in front of the Audi.
The victim's car was "sandwiched" between the lorries, leading to the deaths of Mr James, from Broadstone, Dorset, and Mrs Curtis, from Aylesbury, Buckinghamshire.
In a statement read out in court, Mrs Curtis' son, Michael Chapman, said the tragedy had caused him lasting "shock, confusion and pain".
A statement, previously released by police on behalf of the family of Mr James, said the father-of two would be "terribly missed by so many".
Judge Susan Evans QC said the reason for Rogers' lack of attention may never be known.
She said: "You did not in fact brake until two or three seconds after the collision."
Rogers, of York Terrace, Tredegar, Blaenau Gwent, was also banned from driving for four years.
PC Mark Furse, Crash Investigator stated in interview after the sentencing “Mr Rogers was driving a heavy goods vehicle along the M3 when he failed to see traffic slowing ahead of him.
"This was despite several overhead signs warning of queues. Mr Rodgers had at least eight to nine seconds to stop his vehicle and could have safely done so in less than half that time.
"His vehicle was travelling at 52mph and on cruise control when the collision occurred. He did not apply any breaking until around three seconds after the first impact.
"The Audi was crushed between two heavy goods vehicles, killing Mr James and Mrs Curtis instantly.
"This absolute tragedy just shows what a few moments of inattention can result in.
"The need to pay full attention at all times is paramount as even the slightest distraction can have catastrophic consequences and the effects are far reaching and last a lifetime.
"Our thoughts are with the bereaved families involved in this tragedy”.