Lorry driver with 'no explanation' for crashing into cyclist is spared prison

Alun Tarr's 12-month sentence is suspended for two years

(Photo: Lonpicman/CC3.0)

A lorry driver who admitted that he was "avoidably distracted" and had "no explanation" for hitting and seriously injuring a cyclist on an empty road has been spared time in prison.

Alun Tarr crashed into cyclist Anthony O’Rourke in the early hours of February 17 on Queens Drive, Walton, a straight road which was described as being empty with no other vehicles around at the time of the crash, and that O'Rourke had been wearing reflective clothing.

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The Bolton News (opens in new tab) reports that Liverpool Crown Court heard how Tarr had not braked prior to the crash, which left O'Rourke with five broken ribs, two fractures in his neck, a number of cracked vertebrae (including one which was described as being "completely crushed" ), a broken collarbone, and three broken teeth.

O'Rourke, who is also a lorry driver, is currently awaiting physiotherapy to help with his injuries, has been unable to return to work since February, and still suffers panic attacks which means he even struggles to walk his dogs.

Due to face trial for causing serious injury by dangerous driving, Tarr, from Leigh, Greater Manchester, had changed his plea to guilty, telling the judge that he was "avoidably distracted" at the time of the crash.

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Representing Tarr, Osman Munir said that his client had "no explanation. He failed to see the cyclist in the road."  There was no evidence that Tarr had been distracted by his mobile phone or been under the influence of drink or drugs when the incident took place.

Tarr was sentenced to a 12-month prison sentence, suspended for two years for what the judge, Recorder Andrew McLoughlin, described as a "serious lapse of concentration". He was also given a three-year driving ban, told to carry out 200 hours of unpaid work, and pay £390 in costs.

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Henry Robertshaw began his time at Cycling Weekly working with the tech team, writing reviews, buying guides and appearing in videos advising on how to dress for the seasons. He later moved over to the news team, where his work focused on the professional peloton as well as legislation and provision for cycling. He's since moved his career in a new direction, with a role at the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs.