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Alan Austen denies dangerous driving after M20 bridge collapse near Leybourne


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The lorry driver charged after a pedestrian footbridge fell onto the M20 has denied dangerous driving.

Alan Austen, 63 and of Jedburgh Drive in Darlington, appeared at Maidstone Crown Court today charged with dangerous driving and causing serious injury by dangerous driving after the structure was brought down at junction 4 for Leybourne on August 27.

VIDEO: Alan Austen denied the charges today

He pleaded not guilty to both charges and the trial date was set for February 19 next year.

The M20 bridge collapsed after being struck by a lorry
The M20 bridge collapsed after being struck by a lorry
Alan Austen appeared in court over the collapse of a pedestrian footbridge onto the M20. Picture: Andy Jones
Alan Austen appeared in court over the collapse of a pedestrian footbridge onto the M20. Picture: Andy Jones

The crash, during a bank holiday, brought 170 tonnes of concrete onto the London-bound carriageway when the route was being used by millions of drivers.

Motorcyclist Jim Shaw, 73, escaped with minor injuries after skidding sideways at 70mph beneath the falling debris on the motorway.

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

The incident caused £1.5 million ofdamage and sparked a major operation involving dozens of police officers, firefighters and paramedics.

Austen was granted unconditional bail.

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