May 4, 2022 9.31 am This story is over 24 months old

HGV driver claimed ‘sneezing fit’ caused fatal crash

He has been jailed for nine months

An experienced HGV driver claimed a sneezing fit led to him crashing into the back of a car on the A1, causing the death of a 39-year-old man from Stamford.

Raymond Buff, 55, failed to stop for stationary traffic on the southbound carriageway near Eaton Socon at around 6.40pm on December 9, 2019.

Buff’s HGV collided with the rear of a silver Volkswagen Golf being driven by Stamford man Matthew Mitchell. The impact was so severe it caused the Volkswagen to spin around 180 degrees and collide with three other vehicles.

Mr Mitchell was taken to Addenbrooke’s Hospital in Cambridge for treatment, but sadly died the following day.

When speaking to officers at the scene, Buff claimed he’d had a sneezing fit which prevented him from seeing the traffic in time.

Buff, of New Chester Road, Birkenhead, Merseyside, admitted causing death by careless driving.

He appeared at Peterborough Crown Court on May 3, 2022, where he was jailed for nine months. He was also disqualified from driving for a year.

Detective Sergeant Mark Dollard, from Cambridgeshire Police, said: “Mr Buff was a professional, experienced HGV driver but he was responsible for the collision on the A1 and the subsequent death of Mr Mitchell.

“Mr Buff claimed he failed to react to congested traffic owing to a sneezing fit. This highlights the importance of being always aware of your surroundings while driving, and this is even more important if you are driving a lorry.

“Mr Buff never intended to cause such devastation that evening, but his actions did just that and they should be a stark warning to all road users. You have a responsibility to always take care and drive safely.”