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 Victim's family urge drivers to think twice


A family whose loved one died when he was hit by a driver using his phone has urged others to think twice about using them behind the wheel.

Tom Harker was waiting to turn his horsebox back in to his farm in Sadberge in April 2019 when he was hit from behind by a HGV.

The 68-year-old suffered severe injuries and sadly passed away at the scene.

The driver of the HGV, Jordan Leonard, had been using his mobile banking app at the time and been so distracted he failed see Mr Harker’s vehicle, ploughing into the back of him.

A court heard how he would have had to have gone through three separate authentication methods to access his banking information.

The 25-year-old, of Minerva Close, Newcastle, pleaded guilty to causing death by dangerous driving and was sentenced to five years in prison.

Family Liaison Officer, PC Jamie Patel, said: “This incident was devastating for both families and could have been avoided.

“Mr Harker’s family not only lost their beloved husband, father and grandfather, but also their family business.”

Mr Harker’s family wanted to share their story as the Cleveland and Durham Specialist Operations Unit (CDSOU) take part in a two-week national campaign to make drivers aware of the dangers and help people make a change that could save a life.

Drivers are four times more likely to be involved in a collision as you are less likely to notice and react to hazards if distracted.

Smart phones can increase the temptation to make and answer calls but also to select music or respond to social media alerts.

PC Patel added: “Be in no doubt, you can kill someone. Our message is simple – put the phone away while driving.

“Don’t make that ‘quick’ glance the last thing you ever do!”