1. ITV Report

Lorry driver spared jail after crashing into a bridge on the M20

A lorry driver who crashed into a bridge on the M20 in Kent - injuring a motorcyclist and doing more than a million pounds worth of damage - has been spared jail.

Alan Austen was given a suspended sentence today (Thursday 14th December 2017) after pleading guilty to causing serious injury by dangerous driving.

No-one was killed in the crash in August last year but elderly motorcyclist James Shaw broke his ribs when he swerved to avoid fallen masonry.

Watch this report by Tom Savvides:

When a bridge above the M20 collapsed, it brought down 170 tonnes of concrete onto the busy carriageway.

A digger loaded on the truck had smashed into the footbridge.

As it fell, it sliced through the lorry.

Today the driver of the offending truck, Alan Austen, walked free from court after he admitted causing serious injury by dangerous driving.

James Shaw had been riding his motorbike along the motorway when he skidded to avoid the falling rubble.

He suffered several fractures to his ribs and was treated in hospital for several days.

Motorcyclist broke his ribs when he swerved. Credit: ITV Meridian
Lorry crashed into the bridge Credit: ITV Meridian

The bridge came down between junctions 4 and 3 of the M20 near Maidstone on the busy August Bank Holiday weekend in 2016.

It brought the motorway and surrounding roads to a complete standstill.

The motorway remained closed for several days and the remainder of bridge was eventually demolished.

Mr Austen, who's an experienced HGV driver narrowly avoided going to prison after he was given a one year suspended sentence. He was also disqualified from driving for three years for driving his lorry in a dangerous state.