LONDON: A lorry driver facing 20 charges over a motorway crash which killed eight people wiped away tears as he appeared in court.
Ryszard Masierak, 31, is accused of being over the legal alcohol limit when his lorry collided with another truck and a minibus on the M1 shortly before 3.15am on Saturday.
He faces eight counts of causing death by dangerous driving, four counts of causing serious injury by dangerous driving and eight counts of causing death by careless driving while over the prescribed alcohol limit.
The court heard Masierak is accused of having 55 microgrammes of alcohol per 100ml of breath – the legal driving limit is 35 microgrammes.
Masierak, wearing a grey custody tracksuit, listened to proceedings via a Polish interpreter and wiped away tears with a tissue.
He made no application for bail and did not indicate how he would plead to charges.
Six men and two women travelling in a Ford Transit minibus died in the collision with Masierak’s Scania lorry and a second lorry on the southbound carriageway near Newport Pagnell.
One of the victims was the driver of the minibus, Cyriac Joseph, who was taking passengers from Nottingham to Wembley to join a tour group.
Three other victims were Karthikeyan Ramasubramaniyam Pugalur, Rishi Rajeev Kumar and Vivek Bhaskaran, who all worked for IT firm Wipro.
Another Wipro employee, Mano Ranjan Panneerselvam, was critically injured.
A five-year-old girl, a man and a woman remain in hospital with life-threatening injuries.
Speaking outside court, Chief Inspector Henry Parsons, from Thames Valley Police, said: “Four people who were injured remain in a serious condition in hospital.
“We have had full co-operation from the two freight companies involved and they are fully supporting us with our investigation.”
David Wagstaff, the driver of the second lorry, is charged with eight counts of causing death by dangerous driving and four counts of causing serious injury by dangerous driving.
He is on bail to appear at Milton Keynes Magistrates’ Court on 11 September.
Masierak has been remanded in custody and will appear at Aylesbury Crown Court on 26 September.