A LORRY driver has been cleared of causing the death of a father-of-one in a collision on the A1.

Arthur Page was overcome with emotion and struggled to remain standing as the not guilty verdicts were returned at Teesside Crown Court.

The jury found the 59-year-old not guilty of causing death by dangerous driving after more than five hours of deliberations.

He was also cleared of a lesser charge of causing death by careless driving.

Mr Page's lorry hit an articulated tractor unit belonging to Wayne Howen, of Ingleby Barwick, near Stockton, on the A1 near the Kirkby Fleetham turnoff, between Bedale and Catterick, North Yorkshire, at about 2am on September 12, 2012.

Mr Howen, who was delivering gas bottles, had been involved in a separate accident minutes earlier when he hit another HGV parked in a lay-by after possibly swerving to miss a deer.

He continued driving for half a mile but was forced to stop in the left hand lane of the carriageway as his vehicle was listing and had two badly damaged tyres.

Witnesses said Mr Howen's stationary vehicle was "lit up like a Christmas tree" and the victim, who was wearing a fluorescent jacket, was seen waving a torch and attempting to direct traffic away.

He had also placed cones and two warning triangles in the road.

However, Mr Page's lorry hit the rear of the vehicle, causing it to jack-knife and crush the 38-year-old, killing him instantly.

Prosecutors claimed Mr Page, from Worlaby, Lincolnshire, had fallen asleep at the wheel after earlier opening windows in the cab to keep himself awake.

The lorry driver told the court he had been diagnosed with sleep apnoea - a condition which causes the sufferer to stop breathing while they sleep - following the collision.

However, he denied feeling tired at the time of the accident.

The driver had only been working for his employer, a Scunthorpe-based haulage company, for a few days and was driving to Newton Aycliffe when the collision occurred.