British trucker cleared over YouTube-hit snagged car

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A British truck driver was cleared of wrongdoing Wednesday after he snagged a passing car and drove along a highway with it attached to the front of his vehicle.

A video of the incident, showing the blue Renault Clio with its lights on stuck to the front of the 40-tonne tanker truck's cab, was viewed by half a million people on YouTube.

But driver John Tomlinson was praised for being "cool and calm" in a crisis, during a Traffic Commission hearing to decide whether he should be stripped of his Heavy Goods Vehicle (HGV) licence.

The hearing was told that the car became snagged after its driver Rhona Jane Williams -- a vet from York, northern England -- misjudged her entry to junction 44 of the A1(M) highway in Yorkshire in January.

In a police statement read at the hearing, the panel was told Williams moved into the wrong lane as she came off a slip road and joined the carriageway.

"She was effectively performing an undertaking manoeuvre as she joined the lane," the statement said.

Williams said she felt a "bump" as the vehicles came together and her car swung round 90 degrees and attached itself to the front of the truck, according to the statement.

Tomlinson did not notice the car colliding with his truck, and continued driving until a motorist alerted him by flashing hazard lights, according to his lawyer Sean Joyce.

"Mr. Tomlinson remains unable to offer any explanation simply because he was unaware of the collision. Taking into account he was driving a 44-tonne tanker, the Clio is a relatively small car," he said.

"He was sat high up in the tractor unit which was extremely well insulated. "He simply did not hear anything, see anything, or feel anything," added the lawyer.

North West Traffic Commissioner Beverley Bell told Tomlinson: "It is absolutely clear that you could not see the Clio as you were driving.

"What you found when you pulled into the hard shoulder must have come as a complete shock and I think what you did, in reversing your tanker to release the Clio, was of huge credit to you.

"You showed, in my view, coolness and a clear head. I feel it is entirely inappropriate for me to take away your licence."

The clip is viewable at

© 2010 AFP

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