Leave site

Man found guilty of dangerous driving after tipper truck hit overhead M5 gantry

The tipper truck bed became detached from the lorry in the collision.

A tipper truck driver who crashed into an overhead motorway gantry last year has been convicted of dangerous driving.

The incident, on 2 March 2023, led to the M5 being closed for about 14 hours due to concerns the gantry could collapse.

Anthony Baker, 48, had denied the charge but was convicted by a jury after a two-day trial at Bristol Crown Court.

Baker got behind the wheel of the 32-tonne lorry from a quarry in Flax Bourton and drove to a construction site at Cribbs Causeway. He deposited the load at the site before setting off again.

The jury viewed CCTV and dashcam clips showing the lorry being driven along Highwood Lane and the M5 south before the collision with the tipper truck bed raised.

Calls from members of the public began to be received at approximately 8.20am and minutes later the lorry struck an overhead gantry on the southbound carriageway.

The truck bed was detached from the rest of the lorry and one of the matrix signs fell onto the motorway. Fortunately, nobody was injured.

The M5 had to be shut in both directions for almost 14 hours to ensure the structure, which spanned both carriageways, was made safe. The motorway was then shut again the following weekend to allow the gantry to be fully removed.

Baker, of Garnett Place in Downend, told officers during police interview he did not usually check the lorry bed had lowered after making a delivery but in hindsight stated he should have.

Baker added he did not see any other motorists signal to him to pull over and he was unaware of any mechanical malfunction that would have caused the issue.

He was released on bail and will be sentenced on Friday 2 August at the same court.

PC Ian Hudson, of the roads policing unit, said: “The consequences of this collision could have been catastrophic had the matrix sign hit a vehicle travelling at 70mph or the gantry collapsed onto a live motorway.

“Anthony Baker’s failure to perform even a basic check that the lorry bed had been lowered is inexplicable and put other road users in danger.

“Road safety is something everyone needs to have at the forefront of their minds when they get behind the wheel of any vehicle.”