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Copdock lorry crash driver banned from road

PUBLISHED: 13:36 09 March 2020 | UPDATED: 16:12 09 March 2020

Petru-ionut Lungu has been banned from the road following the incident at Copdock Interchange. Picture: NSRAPT/ARCHANT

Petru-ionut Lungu has been banned from the road following the incident at Copdock Interchange. Picture: NSRAPT/ARCHANT

Archant

A lorry driver who sparked traffic chaos after his vehicle was left overhanging the A14 following a crash has been banned from the road.

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

Petru-ionut Lungu was driving a meat lorry over the A14 at the Copdock interchange on Friday, June 7 last year.

As he went through the second set of traffic lights, Lungu's lorry tipped over onto its side and was left overhanging the A14, Suffolk Magistrates' Court heard.

Debris was shed onto the road below as a result of the crash, which damaged two vehicles and caused minor injuries to one driver, prosecutor Ian Devine told the court.

MORE: Copdock lorry crash driver admits causing accident

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.

The lorry overturned on the bridge at Copdock roundabout. Picture: ROXY LOUISE SIERThe lorry overturned on the bridge at Copdock roundabout. Picture: ROXY LOUISE SIER

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

The bridge finally reopened the following Monday.

Lungu, 33, of St Martins Green, Trimley St Martin, pleaded guilty to careless driving on February 28.

Magistrates saw dashcam footage of the crash, both from behind the vehicle and below the bridge, with the latter clip showing debris hitting a vehicle.

Recovery vehicles at the scene of the overturned lorry at Copdock interchange Picture: NSRAPTRecovery vehicles at the scene of the overturned lorry at Copdock interchange Picture: NSRAPT

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Mr Devine said: "The road conditions that day were good. It was dry, bright and visibility was excellent.

"You have to take into account when you are driving such a machine, its weight, its speed and its camber on the road."

Ellie Carter, defending, argued special reasons for Lungu in that he was unable to afford the fee quoted for an expert witness to give evidence on other contributory factors, other than excessive speed, in his defence.

The scene on the A14 at Copdock where a lorry overturned Picture: NSRAPTThe scene on the A14 at Copdock where a lorry overturned Picture: NSRAPT

Miss Carter said it would be "unjust" to disqualify him from driving due to the absence of an expert report, but magistrates rejected the argument.

An exceptional hardship application was also made to the court and Lungu, who already had six penalty points on his licence, gave evidence to magistrates.

He said he was the highest earner in his household and losing his licence would mean he would be unable to pay rent and utility bills.

The court heard that Lungu's wife worked full-time as a cleaner.

Magistrates rejected the application and awarded Lungu nine points on his licence, which took him to 15 points.

He received a six-month totting up driving ban and was fined £562.

Lungu was also ordered to pay costs of £85 and a victim surcharge of £56.


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