HGV driver given suspended jail sentence for M20 bridge crash

Emma Shone
December 15, 2017


The driver of an HGV that brought down a bridge on the M20 last year has been given a suspended prison sentence.

Alan Austen, 64, pleaded guilty to causing serious injury by dangerous driving, after changing his initial not guilty plea.

He was given a 12-month prison sentence suspended for two years and ordered to perform 200 hours of unpaid work.

The incident last September saw a digger on the back of Austen's HGV strike a footbridge which then collapsed, causing £1.2m of damage.

Senior crown prosecutor David Skelton said: "It was our case that it would have been obvious to a competent and careful driver that the load was too high to be transported safely under the bridge.

"The defendant had supervised the loading of the items and did not measure the height before setting off, ignoring concerns raised by two colleagues. He stopped just prior to the crash to check his load but this was obviously inadequate.

"His actions led to the bridge collapse which left one man with serious injuries and which had a huge financial impact on the whole region, closing off a vital transport link in the South East during a busy travel period."

Picture: Press Association

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