South Scotland

Inquiry told of Galashiels crash in which rail worker died

Selkirk Sheriff Court Image copyright Kim Traynor
Image caption Selkirk Sheriff Court heard the front end of the trailer "rose like a horse on two feet"

An inquiry has heard evidence from a driver who witnessed a crash which claimed the life of a man from south Wales working on the Borders Railway.

Huw Jenkins, 54, of Tonmawr, died following the incident on the A7 near Galashiels, last May.

Alastair Brearley, 67, told the hearing at Selkirk Sheriff Court how an HGV went into the back of a tractor and trailer being driven by Mr Jenkins.

He said the front end of the trailer "rose like a horse on two feet".

Mr Brearley said there were bits of glass and debris from the front of the lorry as he passed but when he looked in his wing mirror the vehicles were still moving.

He added: "I expected to see them stop but they continued down the road which I felt was bizarre.

"I later heard about the accident on the news with police asking for witnesses and that's when I came forward."

Police witnesses described how they had raced to the accident scene but while en route they noticed a lorry which had come to a halt with a front bumper and metal grille at the front badly damaged and a cracked windscreen.

'Very confused'

PC Darren Howlett said he approached the driver, John Boyes, who was in the passenger seat.

The officer said: "He asked me what happened and I replied I was hoping he could tell me that.

"He did not have a clue at what had happened. He appeared very confused."

PC Howlett said the lorry's paperwork was in order along with the tachographs while an alcohol breath test was negative.

Special Constable Mark Laidlaw said Mr Boyes was under the impression his lorry had been struck by another vehicle.

He said: "He did not understand what had happened or why his lorry could not move.

"He kept asking me what happened.

"I felt he was suffering from a severe state of mental shock and had no recollection of the events."

The inquiry was told that following the collision Mr Jenkins had been thrown through the rear window of the John Deere tractor and was lying on the road - dead by the time police arrived.

The inquiry into his death continues.

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