A LORRY driver who was using his mobile phone when he was involved in a fatal collision faces up to seven years in jail after being charged with manslaughter.
The 30-year-old sent and received 19 text messages on his mobile phone shortly before his truck ploughed into the back of a line of cars on the A4 motorway near Grandes-Loges (Marne), prosecutors say.
Investigators originally thought the driver may have fallen asleep at the wheel, but phone records show that the lorry driver spoke five times on his phone and sent and received 29 text messages after getting behind the wheel following a rest stop 90 minutes before the collision at 3.50pm on Monday.
There was no evidence that he had tried to slow down before his vehicle smashed - at a speed of up to 90kph - into other cars that had been slowed by another collision a few kilometres further ahead, police said.
Four vehicles were trapped between two lorries following the collision, and a 49-year-old man and a 76-year-old woman, who were passengers in separate cars, died, while a further six were injured.
Following hospital treatment, the lorry driver was taken into custody on Monday.