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Copdock lorry crash driver admits causing accident

Petru-ionut Lungu leaving an earlier hearing at Suffolk Magistrates' Court  
Picture: ARCHANT

Petru-ionut Lungu leaving an earlier hearing at Suffolk Magistrates' Court Picture: ARCHANT

Archant

A lorry driver has admitted causing a crash which led to traffic chaos and closed the busy Copdock roundabout at the A12/A14 junction for a weekend.

Recovery vehicles on scene at at Copdock interchange  Picture: NSRAPTRecovery vehicles on scene at at Copdock interchange Picture: NSRAPT

The crash happened on the roundabout over the A14 at the Copdock interchanged last June.

Petru-ionut Lungu pleaded guilty to careless driving at Suffolk Magistrates' Court on Friday.

The 33-year-old of St Martins Green, Trimley St Martin, had previously denied the offence and was to stand trial on March 12.

Lungu's meat lorry was left overhanging the A14, shedding debris onto the road below, after tipping onto its side at about 5pm on Friday, June 7.

The scene on the A14 at Copdock  Picture: NSRAPTThe scene on the A14 at Copdock Picture: NSRAPT

Traffic was halted on the eastbound carriageway while emergency services dealt with the incident, which led to severe disruption in the area, with traffic left queuing on routes through Ipswich, where a Rod Stewart concert was taking place at Portman Road the same evening.

Removal of the MAN lorry took until the following morning, but disruption continued throughout the weekend as urgent repairs were carried out to the bridge.

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The bridge finally reopened, following the installation of a temporary crash barrier, the following Monday morning.

Petru-ionut Lungu leaving an earlier hearing at Suffolk Magistrates' Court  
Picture: ARCHANTPetru-ionut Lungu leaving an earlier hearing at Suffolk Magistrates' Court Picture: ARCHANT

Lungu, a professional lorry driver, carrying a delivery of meat at the time of the crash, was alleged to have entered the roundabout at speed and failed to right the vehicle as it tipped over.

He was taken to hospital for treatment of minor injuries, while two other drivers also suffered minor injuries as a result of debris striking their vehicles.

Solicitor Ellie Carter, representing Lungu in court, said his initial denial had been based on uncertainty over contributory factors, other than excessive speed, which may have caused the lorry to tip over.

She said a print-out from the lorry's on-board computer showed he had been travelling at 30mph at the time of the crash.

Police closed the road as they dealt with the overturned lorry  Picture: ROXY LOUISE SIERPolice closed the road as they dealt with the overturned lorry Picture: ROXY LOUISE SIER

Because the offence is not imprisonable, Lungu would not have been eligible for legal aid, and could not afford the fee quoted for an expert witness to give evidence on other contributory factors in his defence.

Lungu already had six points on his licence at the time of the offence and could now face disqualification from driving.

Sentencing was adjourned to allow him time to gather financial evidence to support his case for being spared a ban.


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