A lorry driver has been sent to prison after causing a collision on the M1 in which a horse was killed.

At around 6.30pm on 17 July 2023, Nicholas Cole, 47, of Harrison Road, Wordsley, Stourbridge, was driving a lorry on the M1 northbound between junctions 14 and 15. At the same time, National Highways had closed lane one of the motorway due to a broken down horsebox.

However, despite a red X gantry sign and the fact that Highways officers had parked a vehicle a short distance behind the horsebox which displayed flashing amber and red lights, Cole failed to move out of lane one.

Realising at the last moment, he tried to steer his lorry out of the path of the stationary vehicles, however clipped the Highways vehicle before crashing straight into the horsebox.

The driver and passengers were waiting on the bank and were unharmed, but their horse was killed in the collision.

At the scene, Cole’s account was that he had been listening to the radio before the collision took place and the next thing he knew, he saw the Highways vehicle and swerved to avoid it.

He was subsequently charged with driving dangerously and pleaded guilty to the offence at Northampton Magistrates Court in February. Last week (Thursday 9 May) he was sentenced at Northampton Crown Court to 42 weeks in prison and suspended from driving for 21 months.

“As people will be able to see from the footage [above], this was a shocking collision that sadly resulted in a horse being killed,” said PS Richard Hill from Northamptonshire Police’s Roads Policing Team.

“It’s a stark example of how important it is to keep your focus on the road when you’re driving and to ensure you read the gantry signs displayed on the motorway. Cole would have had plenty of time to see the red X and yet still caused this collision.

“I hope this sentence is a lesson to him and to other road users. Driving a vehicle is a big responsibility and it is paramount that you are always aware of your surroundings.”