Man jailed for fatal M42 crash after stopping in fast lane
A man who stopped in the fast lane of a motorway to ask for directions has been jailed after a van crashed into his parked car killing two passengers.
James Davies, from Welshpool, Powys, became disorientated by a diversion on the M42 in Warwickshire and wanted help from a road worker.
Davies, 71, pleaded guilty to causing the deaths of his partner Christine Evans and Barbara Jones on 5 January.
He was jailed for two years and four months at Warwick Crown Court.
The court heard Davies was heading northbound to Birmingham Airport at about 03:15 GMT.
He was taking Ms Jones, 63, and her partner Gareth Isaac to catch their flight, while 53-year-old Ms Evans was also in car.
Davies stopped to speak to a man who was working for the Highways Agency on the southbound carriageway between junctions nine for Lichfield and 10 for Tamworth.
That side of the motorway was closed for road works where witness Jake Ashmore was in his car with warning lights flashing.
Prosecutor Simon Davis said: "It was obvious the defendant had parked in the fast lane of the northbound carriageway and crossed the central reservation and the closed southbound carriageway to the Highways vehicle.
"Mr Ashmore, recognising the danger, ordered the defendant to move his car. But within two to three seconds he saw a white van collide with the rear of the defendant's vehicle."
Mr Davis said the crash happened just over a minute after the car stopped and it "went into the air and rotated twice before coming to rest".
The two women died at the scene.
Jailing Davies, Judge Anthony Potter told him: "This was rightly described as a terrible tragedy, and it will affect all of those people, including you, for many years.
"For reasons that are hard to fathom, having become lost, you decided to stop, not on the hard shoulder, but on the outside carriageway of the motorway.
"Leaving a stationary vehicle in the fast lane of a motorway is dangerous enough, but to leave it with three people inside it, whose lives were in your hands, is even worse.