Lorry driver accused of causing over £1.5m in damage after collapse of motorway bridge
The bridge fell after a wheeled excavator and dumper being transported by Alan Austen, 63, on the back of a lorry struck it between junctions four and three on the London-bound carriageway in Kent.
No-one was killed but Jim Shaw, 73, of Thamesmead, south-east London, suffered three broken ribs after he came off his motorbike to avoid the fallen bridge.
One man suffered three broken ribs after he came off his motorbike to avoid the fallen bridge
'Luckily or miraculously' the motorcyclist survived with only broken ribs
Prosecutor Mark Kateley
Gridlock was also caused on one of the busiest weekends of last year. Austen, 63, was summonsed by Kent Police in January to appear at Maidstone Magistrates' Court accused of dangerous driving.
Austen, of Darlington, County Durham, also appeared accused of causing serious injury by dangerous driving and three counts of criminal damage.
Prosecutor Mark Kateley told the court around £1.5 million of damage was caused to the bridge, £118,000 damage to the Daf truck and trailer and £35,107 damage to the Hitachi wheeled excavator and yellow dumper.
Gridlock was also caused on one of the busiest weekends of last year
Mr Kateley said “luckily or miraculously” the motorcyclist survived with only broken ribs. He added that the level of damage caused required the case to be sent to the crown court.
No pleas were entered, and magistrates sent the case to Maidstone Crown Court for a hearing on March 17.
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Austen was granted unconditional bail.