Truckie Pays Ultimate Price To Save Two Lives
Release date: 18/11/2015
THE WEST AUSTRALIAN, by Elle Farcic, 18 November 2015
Alan Simpson was faced with two choices when the driver of a small sedan pulled out in front of his prime mover at a Wattleup intersection.
The aftermath of the fatal crash. Picture: Ben Crabtree/The West Australian.
He could either plough through the car and kill the married couple inside, or risk his own life by swerving to the right.
In a split second, the 61-year-old father of three decided to swerve.
Alan Simpson was killed in a crash at Wattleup in April. Picture: Supplied
“They all say he’s a hero, but heroes get medals,” Mr Simpson’s wife Shirley told The West Australian yesterday. “He doesn’t get one.”
Nine days before his son’s wedding in April, Mr Simpson’s truck rolled and crushed him when he fell out the passenger door.
The man who drove into the path of Mr Simpson’s truck, William Harland Zimpel, 80, avoided jail yesterday after District Court Judge Philip McCann found it would be inhumane to send him to prison.
Zimpel and his wife Judit were seriously injured in the crash, but Judge McCann found their lives had been saved by Mr Simpson’s brave actions.
“He acted selflessly and took an enormous risk to himself by swerving to the right in a vain effort to avoid the collision,” he said.
“This action cost him his own life and saved Mr Zimpel and his wife from certain death.”
Zimpel pleaded guilty to dangerous driving occasioning death and dangerous driving occasioning grievous bodily harm.
He was disqualified from driving for two years and was sentenced to 20 months jail, suspended for two years.
Judge McCann told the court Zimpel gave Mr Simpson no time to brake when he entered the intersection without checking for approaching traffic.
He said he thought Mr Simpson was “too fair and decent a man” to want Zimpel behind bars.
Mr Simpson had driven trucks since he was a teenager and was considered a cautious and considerate driver.
For his wife of more than 40 years, the hardest part about losing him has been that she never got to say goodbye.
“He was a loving family man and he has just been ripped away so quickly,” Mrs Simpson said.
“He was meant to come home that day but he didn’t and we didn’t get a chance to say our goodbyes.”
Zimpel has had only one speeding ticket during his 63 years as a driver.
Judge McCann found he was “as good a driver and citizen as anyone could be” before the crash.
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