Smart motorway widow’s billboard protest outside South Yorkshire police HQ

The widow of a man killed on a stretch of smart motorway near Sheffield has placed a billboard outside South Yorkshire Police HQ to demand the prosecution of Highways England.

Claire Mercer from the Smart Motorways Kill campaign, placed the billboard outside today, March 2, to mark her late husband’s birthday, who would have been 46 today.

Ms Mercer demanded that Highways England be held accountable for ‘corporate manslaughter’ and called for smart motorways to be scrapped.

She said: “We need South Yorkshire Police to investigate highways and we need them to get on with it.

“I’ve been pushing for 14 months now.”

She said that she had been standing outside the Headquarters for an hour and a half but there had been no response from the police.

Her husband and Alexandru Mergeanu, 22 were killed by lorry driver Prezemyslaw Szuba after he crashed into them on the smart motorway on the M1 in June 2019.

The pair were exchanging details over the crash barrier after they had a minor collision with each other. There was no hard shoulder or refuge area.

Szuba was sentenced 10 months in prison for causing death by careless driving.

However, after his court case, Ms Mercer told The Sheffield Star that the wrong person was prosecuted because smart motorways should never have been allowed.

The billboard uses #justturnthebloodythingsoff which Ms Mercer says she wanted use because it was something that she found herself repeating.

In 2019, Ms Mercer said that 15 people were killed on the smart motorway and she knows five other people who have personally been involved in accidents.

“That’s five lives I know that have been altered forever,” she said.

Ms Mercer hired the billboard for to use for eight hours from Media Displays in Wakefield. She has planned to drive it around to each of their family members household and pass South Yorkshire Police HQ as much as possible.

The campaign “Smart Motorways Kill” was set up to take legal action against SYP to change their decision on investigating Highways England.

They have a crowd funded donations to cover legal fees here: https://www.crowdjustice.com/case/smart-motorway-jr/?fbclid=IwAR1-Vk9XVCcigRJtlFnsWFlErlvMoUwM0cH7dSNScX41OVqH_FYiQ0cOppI

More information about Smart Motorways Kill is available on their website: https://smartmotorwayskill.co.uk/

Written by Imogen Bowlt

I am a 2nd Year Journalism Studies student at the University of Sheffield. I have experience with social media, reporting, writing, editing and am currently working towards my NCTJ qualification.

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Written by Imogen Bowlt

I am a 2nd Year Journalism Studies student at the University of Sheffield. I have experience with social media, reporting, writing, editing and am currently working towards my NCTJ qualification.
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