Hampshire Lorry Driver Jailed Over Boy's Death In Wareham

26 April 2019, 15:13 | Updated: 26 April 2019, 15:31

Dean Phoenix

A lorry driver has been jailed for a year for causing a 3-year-old boy's death on a pedestrian crossing in Wareham.

44-year-old Dean Phoenix from Cibbons Road in Chineham was sentenced on Friday 26 April at Bournemouth Crown Court for causing death by careless driving.

He had admitted the offence at an earlier hearing but denied causing death by dangerous driving, and was cleared of the more serious charge after a trial. 

Phoenix was sentenced to 12 months in prison and disqualified from driving for 18 months, with the ban due to commence upon his release from prison.

At 8.40am on Thursday 29 March 2018 a white Scania lorry being driven by Phoenix was approaching a pedestrian crossing in North Street when he was forced to stop due to congestion in the road, including a red Vauxhall Astra that was parked on the zig zag markings on the south side of the crossing.

The traffic lights at the crossing were green for vehicles when Phoenix stopped, with his lorry partially covering the crossing area.

Three-year old Jaiden Mangan was on his balance bike with his mother and sister as they waited at the crossing.

The lights changed, turning to red for vehicles and a green man illuminating to indicate pedestrians could cross. Jaiden's mother and sister crossed safely to the other side and the boy crossed behind them on his bike.

As he did so the lorry began to move forward, colliding with the youngster. Emergency services attended and the boy was taken to Dorset County Hospital, where he was very sadly pronounced dead at 10.05am.

In police interview, Phoenix said he was completely unaware that the traffic lights had turned red for vehicles and was upset when he was shown CCTV showing that was the case.

Graham David Booker, aged 71 and of North Street in Wareham, was the driver of the Vauxhall Astra that was parked on the zig zag lines and he admitted charges of driving without due care and attention and failing to comply with a road traffic sign when he appeared at Poole Magistrates' Court on Friday 9 November 2018.

He was fined a total of £285 and ordered to pay £85 costs as well as a £30 victim surcharge and disqualified from driving for three months.

Police Inspector Joe Pardey, of the traffic unit, said: 

"This tragic incident resulted in the very sad death of a much loved little boy that has understandably left his family devastated and nothing will ever compensate them for their loss.

"It was clear that Phoenix was frustrated with the position he found himself in, but this case demonstrates how motorists still need to show patience in these situations and the serious implications that can arise if we let that frustration get the better of us.

"Drivers need to take time and ensure their actions are safe no matter what situation they are faced with. If Phoenix had taken the time to make the proper checks Jaiden's death would have been avoided.

"It shows the truly awful consequences that can result in motorists not driving with appropriate care and failing to comply with road markings and is another demonstration of the need to drive carefully and considerately at all times.

"Finally, I would like to thank all the members of the public and the emergency services for their efforts in trying to save Jaiden's life on that tragic day."