Bin Lorry Probe Will Look At Driver

A fatal accident inquiry into a bin lorry crash in which six people died will look at the driver's medical background and his fitness to hold a licence.

It will also consider the technical aspects of the vehicle itself and whether it was appropriate for it to take the route it did through Glasgow city centre just before Christmas.

Erin McQuade, 18, her grandparents Jack Sweeney, 68, and his 69-year-old wife Lorraine, all from Dumbarton, died in the incident in the city's Queen Street and George Square on December 22 last year.

Stephenie Tait, 29, and Jacqueline Morton, 51, both from Glasgow, and Gillian Ewing, 52, from Edinburgh, were also killed when the truck mounted the pavement before crashing into the side of the Millennium Hotel.

A preliminary hearing for the fatal accident inquiry (FAI) took place today at Glasgow Sheriff Court, where the inquiry is due to start on July 22, exactly seven months after the tragedy.

Sheriff Principal Craig Scott, who will hear the FAI, said it will set out to "establish the circumstances relating to the tragic deaths'' of the six victims.

Scotland's second most senior law officer Solicitor General Lesley Thomson QC, who will lead the inquiry, said it will cover three main areas.

She said: "The issues fall into three categories which are firstly around the driver of the vehicle, his medical background, his fitness to hold the licence, his employment record and training.

"Secondly the vehicle itself and the technical aspects, if there could have been any measures or interventions to have brought that vehicle to a controlled stop.

"And thirdly the safety of the refuse collection route taken by the motor vehicle. In relation to that I would intend to explore not just the route but the time of week and the time of year and assess the appropriateness of that route at that time of year.''

She added: "The Crown's position is that I anticipate being ready to conduct the inquiry on the dates being given and that it can be concluded within the time allocated.''

The Solicitor General said arrangements will be made for people involved in the FAI to view the vehicle before the inquiry starts, while during the FAI it will be brought to a suitable place close to the court.

She has also requested that a film of the route from the level of the driver be made.

Lawyers for the families, Glasgow City Council, DVLA and the driver were also at the hearing, as were some relatives of those who died.

Some of lawyers said they could not indicate whether they will be ready by July 22 after the court heard some material and expert reports are not yet available from the Crown.

Sheriff Principal Scott said: "I have to stress it would be very unfortunate for the inquiry not to proceed on the appointed date.

"The Crown have been expeditious in instigating the inquiry into the events of 22 December and the court has been equally expeditious in making considerable arrangements to accommodate the inquiry.

"Were the inquiry to be put off it's difficult at this stage to envisage when it might be accommodated so really where possible the inquiry should proceed on 22 July.''

A further preliminary hearing has been set for May 18.

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