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Truck driver admits A96 crash that left tractor driver trapped by metal poles

The accident happened on the A96 Aberdeen to Keith road, near Cairnie
The accident happened on the A96 Aberdeen to Keith road, near Cairnie

A truck driver has admitted causing a crash that left a tractor driver trapped by metal poles.

Michael Balchan drove into the back of the tractor on the A96 Huntly to Keith road.

The impact dislodged the long poles in the back of his flatbed truck and sent them crashing through the cab window.

Tractor operator Mark Wallis, who was cutting grass at the roadside, was thrown forward and hit by the poles, which pinned him to the front of the cab.

He suffered breathing problems, and was later taken to Turner Memorial Hospital in Keith with minor injuries.

Yesterday, Balchan admitted driving carelessly on the A96 at Cairnie, near Huntly, when the case called at Aberdeen Sheriff Court.

The crash on the A96
The crash on the A96

The 41-year-old accepted he had failed to observe warning signs, flashing warning beacons and strobe lights, as well as an arrow directing him to move into the offside lane as he approached the red and black tractor on May 13 this year.

He made no attempt to brake or move across to pass the tractor, and drove into the back of it – causing the rear end of his own Mercedes Sprinter to lift off the carriageway.

The charge says the impact threw Mr Willis forward to the front of his cab, and that he was hit by the metal poles as they smashed through his rear and front windows. They pinned him into the cab and restricted his breathing.

Balchan, of 14 Whitelaw Crescent, Nairn, admitted the charge by letter yesterday.

Sentence was deferred until later this month for him to make a personal appearance.

Police, fire and ambulance crews were called to crash, which happened on the westbound carriageway of the busy A96 at about 1pm.

Three fire appliances from Keith, Huntly and Aberchirder attended and crews helped police officers make the road safe.

Mr Willis – who was cutting the grass verge on behalf of Bear Scotland – was taken to hospital with minor injuries.

Balchan was driving a van belonging to refrigerator and air conditioning firm Climate Centre at the time of the incident. A spokeswoman for the firm declined to comment last night.

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