Trucker in M74 crash thought he had clipped mirror

A TANKER driver whose vehicle struck a man who was standing by the side of a motorway thought at first he had clipped another lorry’s wing mirror, an inquiry heard yesterday.

George Smith said he did not see Mr McQuade on the M74. Picture: Johnston Press
George Smith said he did not see Mr McQuade on the M74. Picture: Johnston Press

John McQuade, 47, died after being hit by a passing tanker on the M74 near Hamilton, Lanarkshire, as he was getting out of the driver’s door of his lorry on 1 February, 2012.

He had pulled on to the hard shoulder after being alerted by other drivers that his load was not safe. Mr McQuade was treated by paramedics but died later in Wishaw General Hospital.

Yesterday, George Smith told a fatal accident inquiry into Mr McQuade’s death that he had not seen a lorry stopped at the side of the M74.

He said: “It was a cold February morning and it was really dark on that bit of road. We were going about 55mph. I did not see anybody around the lorry when I passed it.

“I heard a bang as I drove by and I thought I had clipped another wing mirror. I looked in my mirror and could see what looked like a person on the road, so I stopped.”

Mr Smith said that he and his passenger, Ian Henderson, got out of their tanker and walked towards the other lorry.

“I saw what had happened and I felt shocked and upset,” he told the inquiry.

Mr Henderson, who also gave evidence, said he pulled Mr 
McQuade’s body from under the truck and tried to save him.

He said: “We were driving along as normal, there was nothing untoward that we could see. As we were driving, there was suddenly a bump, a bang in the dark.

“When we heard the bump, we pulled off the motorway and I got out to see what it was. I could see a person lying on the carriageway.

“George got out and he was sick on the hard shoulder.

“We ran down and when we got there we had to pull the person off the carriageway.

“I do first aid but we did not have a lot of equipment that day. I was on my knees with him until the ambulance came. We had covered him with jackets to try and keep him warm.”

The court was also read a written statement from Mr McQuade’s son, Barry, which said he had been on the other side of the lorry when the incident happened and had heard a “popping noise” as his father was hit.

The inquiry before Sheriff Alasdair MacFadyen continues.