Lorry driver caused crash that killed policeman Mark Goodlad
A LORRY driver has admitted causing the death of an East Yorkshire police officer who was hit by a vehicle as he helped a stranded motorist.
But Leeds Crown Court heard it has still not been established why Andrew Abernethy's truck left the M1, near Wakefield, trapping PC Mark Goodlad between his police car and another vehicle.
Prosecutors said the accident showed classic signs of being a "sleep-related" crash but investigators found no evidence Abernethy had worked excessive hours or not slept.
The court heard the defendant maintains he was distracted because he had a pain in his eye.
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Abernethy, 45, of Rembrandt Walk, Oldham, admitted causing death by dangerous driving.
He was driving an orange Scania articulated lorry, which hit a marked BMW X5 police car and a grey Suzuki Swift on the southbound carriageway of the M1, near the village of Crigglestone, on October 24 last year.
The police car and the Suzuki were both stationary on the hard shoulder and officers said PC Goodlad, of Goole, was between the two vehicles, helping the 51-year-old woman who had been driving the Suzuki.
The woman suffered minor injuries in the accident.
Andrew Dallas, prosecuting, said Abernethy told police at the time of the crash that it happened because he had sudden pain in his eye.
Mr Dallas said Abernethy repeated this explanation to interviewing officers and a nurse.
But Mr Dallas said: "The vehicle behaved in a classic sleep-related manner, which is drifting off the road at the end of a very long gradual bend."
The prosecutor also said there was an "inherent improbability of the eye distraction representing the whole explanation for this".
But the court heard Abernethy was only one hour into his shift and had not driven at work in the previous three days.
Mr Dallas said: "It does have some but not all of the factors that circumstantially point towards it being sleep-related, or it could be something else altogether."
He said the investigation had uncovered no evidence "that conclusively demonstrates why he left the carriageway".
Gary Woodhall, in mitigation, told the court his client had not had any sleep-related problems or done anything to make him sleepy.
Judge Scott Wolstenholme was asked to consider whether he could sentence Abernethy without resolving the issue about why the crash happened.
The judge said he would consider whether a trial of issue was needed but fixed a sentencing date for November 22 at Bradford Crown Court.
PC Goodlad, 41, had been an officer with West Yorkshire Police for ten years.
He had a wife, Helen, and son, Ben.