Lorry driver jailed after B3004 death


Local People

A LORRY driver has been jailed after his actions resulted in the death of a man on the B3004 near Alton.

Lewis Lodge, 39, of Sissinghurst Drive, Milton Keynes, pleaded guilty to causing death by dangerous driving at Winchester Crown Court.

The incident occurred last year, close to the site of the annual Ahmadiyya Muslim Jalsa Salana festival.

The court heard how Mr Lodge was driving an HGV along Green Street in East Worldham, east of Alton, on July 21 last year when he was in a minor collision with a Citroen C3 driven by Choudhry Sadaqat.

The hearing was told that, following the collision, there’d been an exchange of words between the drivers, who had both stepped out of their vehicles.

Mr Lodge returned to his lorry and, despite Mr Sadaqat being stood in the road ahead of him, continued to drive forward.

Although Mr Lodge was said to have tried to “drive around” Mr Sadaqat, the court heard it would have been clear to most motorists that it was not safe to do so.

As a result of the subsequent collision Mr Sadaqat, 35, from Farnham, suffered life-threatening injuries and died in hospital four days later.

On Thursday, Mr Lodge was sentenced to four years and eight months in prison and disqualified from driving for six years and four months.

Sergeant Mark Furse, from the serious collision investigation unit, said: “This was a death that could have so easily been avoided. While it is clear that Mr Lodge was trying to navigate around Mr Sadaqat, it would have been obvious to any clear-thinking motorist that such a manoeuvre in such a large vehicle was dangerous and had the potential to end in tragedy.

“Had Mr Lodge just kept his patience that day and taken a moment to think about what he was about to do, then Mr Sadaqat may still be alive today. He made a reckless decision that has left a family devastated.”

Sgt Furse added: “This case clearly shows how losing your patience, for even a moment, while driving can have tragic consequences.

“I would like to take this opportunity to remind motorists that no matter how frustrated you may feel behind the wheel, it is never worth risking the life of another. Stop, take a breath, and drive safely at all times.”

nThe death occurred during the large-scale set up of Britain’s biggest annual Islamic gathering, held at East Worldham, near Alton. It saw around 35,000 Muslims come together in a tented village at Hadeeqatul Mahdi, formerly Oaklands Farm, for the annual three-day Jalsa Salana.

At the time, the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community UK confirmed that the HGV driver was approaching the site when the collision occurred.

A spokesman described it as a tragedy but said the incident was “not directly connected with the Jalsa Salana”.

This week, Ahmadiyya spokesman Doctor Basharat Nazir added: “Our thoughts and prayers are with the bereaved family and with all affected by this tragic incident.”

Following his death, Mr Sadaqat’s family issued a statement, paying tribute to him.

“Choudhry was a good son and brother. He has left us early to return to his Creator,” the family statement read.

“He enjoyed life and was always ready to serve his community. He is survived by his mother, father, brothers and family.”

Jalsa Salana will return next month, running from August 3-5. Motorists might experience delays as visitors travel to and from the site.



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