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Trucker 'caused £1.5million damage' in bridge collapse





  • Alan Austen, 63, allegedly brought 170 tonnes of concrete crashing onto M20
  • Court heard dumper he was carrying on the back of his truck hit the structure
  • Jim Shaw suffered three broken ribs after coming off motorbike to avoid debris

By Rory Tingle For Mailonline

Published: 09:03 EST, 17 February 2017 | Updated: 09:07 EST, 17 February 2017

Alan Austen, 63, allegedly brought 170 tonnes of concrete crashing onto the motorway after a dumper he was carrying on the back of his truck hit the structure Alan Austen, 63, allegedly brought 170 tonnes of concrete crashing onto the motorway after a dumper he was carrying on the back of his truck hit the structure

Alan Austen, 63, allegedly brought 170 tonnes of concrete crashing onto the motorway after a dumper he was carrying on the back of his truck hit the structure

A lorry driver has appeared in court accused of causing more than £1.5million of damage following the collapse of a motorway bridge on the M20. 

Alan Austen, 63, allegedly brought 170 tonnes of concrete crashing onto the motorway after a dumper he was carrying on the back of his truck hit the structure. 

No-one was killed but Jim Shaw, 73, suffered three broken ribs after he came off his motorbike to avoid the falling bridge during the August bank holiday weekend.

It also caused gridlock 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 on Friday 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. 

The falling concrete also crushed two lorries, a Hitachi excavator and a lorry truck and trailer, both worth £150,000. 

No-one was killed but Jim Shaw, 73, suffered three broken ribs after he came off his motorbike to avoid the falling bridge (pictured) during the August bank holiday weekend No-one was killed but Jim Shaw, 73, suffered three broken ribs after he came off his motorbike to avoid the falling bridge (pictured) during the August bank holiday weekend

No-one was killed but Jim Shaw, 73, suffered three broken ribs after he came off his motorbike to avoid the falling bridge (pictured) during the August bank holiday weekend

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. Austen was granted unconditional bail. 

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