Drivers to stand trial after fatal M40 collision near Banbury

Warwick Crown Court ENGNNL00120111214095851
Warwick Crown Court ENGNNL00120111214095851

A dazed driver who got out of his car on the M40 near Banbury after it had been sent spinning into a barrier by a collision with a lorry was killed when he was then hit by a BMW.

Both the BMW driver and the lorry driver are to stand trial later this year over the early-morning incident on an unlit section of the motorway on March 21.

Donald Corrigan, 67. of Butt Lane, Allesley, Coventry, pleaded not guilty at Warwick Crown Court to causing the death of Alex Butwell by driving his BMW without due care and attention.

Lorry driver George Carr, 63, of The Hurn, Digby, in Lincolnshire, has already pleaded not guilty at the court to causing Mr Butwell’s death by driving his HGV vehicle dangerously.

Darron Whitehead, prosecuting, said the tragic crash took place as Mr Butwell and a group of friends were heading south along the M40 at about 5am.

Mr Butwell and two passengers in his white Volkswagen Polo were driving in front of a line of 12 vehicles as part of a convoy, on their way to an event at the Santa Pod Raceway.

As they were driving between junctions 12 (Gaydon) and 11 (Banbury), on a dark, unlit section of the motorway there was a collision between Carr’s lorry and Mr Butwell’s Volkswagen.

The Volkswagen ended up being pushed sideways-on in front of the lorry before rotating and ending up going front-on into the central barrier.

It came to rest sideways across the outside lane, and Mr Butwell’s girlfriend and his rear-seat passenger got out and took refuge behind the barrier.

Mr Butwell, who was wearing dark clothes, also got out, but appeared dazed and was seen holding his head.

He was standing behind his car when it was struck by Corrigan’s BMW which also hit Mr Butwell, throwing him across the motorway onto the hard shoulder and causing fatal injuries, said Mr Whitehead.

Corrigan entered his not guilty plea when the charge was put to him following legal submissions from his barrister Ian Bridge, which were rejected by Judge Sylvia de Bertodano.

The case was adjourned for the two drivers to stand trial together at the end of September, and Corrigan, who the court heard had been driving to an airport at the time, was granted bail.