'I can't believe I've been so daft' - Sunderland truck driver fined after wagon left wedged under bridge

Police at the scene of the collision
Police at the scene of the collision

A truck driver who left his vehicle wedged under a low bridge after taking a shortcut told a court he had been "stupid".

John Harvey, who drives skip wagons for a living, had left the extendable arms of his vehicle unfolded when he collided with the disused railway bridge in Station Road, Penshaw, Sunderland Magistrates’ Court heard.

The extra height meant the DAF truck's total height was 15ft, making it too tall to pass under the bridge.

The court heard the 43-year-old was running late when he got caught up in traffic on Washington Highway, on the afternoon of April 4, and changed his route.

Prosecutor Laura Johnson said police were alerted to a road traffic collision at 3.20pm.

Ms Johnson said: "A blue skip lorry was wedged underneath a disused railway bridge.

"A collision investigator attended the scene and took photos of the vehicle and analysed the speed data."

The court heard the vehicle would have been travelling at a speed not exceeding 59kmph (36.6mph) on the road, which has a 48kmph (30mph) speed restriction.

Ms Johnson said: "The defendant said he had rushed his last job and forgot to remove the extendable arms of the skip wagon.

"He said he works for Metal and Waste Recycling in Seaham, delivering and collecting skips.

"He drove under the disused railway bridge on Station Road and was carrying aluminium turnings at the time of the crash.

"He had been to Team Valley to collect them and was on his way back to Seaham, a route he is very familiar with.

"There was a lot of traffic on Washington Highway and took an alternative route."

Ms Johnson said the spendable arms added an extra 3ft to the 12ft-tall lorry.

Harvey told police: "I didn't realise I was doing that sort of speed.

"I deserve it. I can't believe I've been so daft."

Harvey, of Tudor Grove, Plains Farm, pleaded guilty to driving without due care and attention.

Representing himself in court, he said: "I just can't believe how stupid I've been."

District Judge Roger Elsey said: "I give you credit for pleading guilty at the first opportunity and I take account of the fact you are man of good character.

"You are a professional driver with a clean licence.

"You co-operated with police and made full admissions.

"This is out of character and I do not believe it will happen again."

Harvey was fined £165 and was told to pay a £35 surcharge and £85 costs at a rate of £40 per month.

His driving record was endorsed with four penalty points.

Judge Elsey added: "I hope we don't see you again."