Widow forgives Hull man after husband killed…

Widow forgives Hull man after husband killed on ‘smart motorway’
2021-01-19 17:16:00
The heartbroken widow of a man who died when a lorry ploughed into him on the hard shoulder of a “smart motorway” has said she has forgiven the Hull man who was driving the vehicle that killed him and once again called for a review into the “death trap” roads. The inquest into Claire Mercer's husband's death ended on Monday with a conclusion that Jason Mercer, 44, and 22 year-old Alexandru Murgeanu, who died alongside him, were unlawfully killed. The pair had been forced to stop in the hard shoulder of the M1 near Sheffield after a minor collision. They were killed when a lorry using the lane, which was open to traffic as part of the regular operation of the smart motorway, drove into them. Following Mr Mercer and Mr Murgeanu’s death, lorry driver Prezemyslaw Zbigniew Szuba, 40, was jailed after being prosecuted for causing death by driving without due care and attention. To get the Hull Live headlines every day, simply pop your email address into the sign-up box just beneath the picture at the top of this article. At the sentencing, Judge Jeremy Richardson QC questioned the removal of hard shoulders, saying he viewed them in a similar way to emergency doors on aeroplanes or lifeboats on ships. Mrs Mercer has always said she felt that it wrong to prosecute the lorry driver. “I saw him at court the day he was sentenced and I told him he wasn’t to blame,” she said. “It wouldn't have happened if it wasn't a smart motorway. He didn't get up that morning intending to kill two people. He just didn't react in time. He told me he had been more scared of seeing me face to face than whatever sentence the court could give him because he considered himself a murderer. He wasn’t, and I told him he wasn’t, but that’s how he felt.” Prezemyslaw Zbigniew Szuba was jailed over the deaths of Jason Mercer and Alexandru Murgeanu (Image: South Yorkshire Police) The smart motorways operate by either opening the hard shoulder as a running lane to traffic at busy periods to ease congestion (dynamic motorways), or have the hard shoulder permanently removed and used by traffic (all lanes running motorways). Drivers in difficulty are expected to use ‘emergency refuge areas’ (ERAs) at the side of the carriageway which are spaced around one-and-a-half miles apart
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