Lorry driver fined after concrete blocks fell on £50,000 Tesla car
- Credit: Neil Collins
A driver has been fined after a £50,000 car was crushed under tonnes of concrete blocks which fell from the back of a lorry.
Company director Neil Collins and his wife miraculously escaped injury after the blocks fell onto his Tesla Model 3 car on the B1535 at Weston Longville.
The load fell off a lorry being driven by David Terry as it rounded a corner and onto the electric-powered car on April 20 this year.
Norwich Magistrates' Court heard the blocks caused “significant damage to the vehicle”.
Stuart Cowen, prosecuting, said the driver’s wife, a passenger in the car, was taken to hospital by ambulance following the incident, although there were no long-standing injuries as a result of the crash.
Mr Cowen, who described it as an unusual case, said Terry was interviewed by police and stated he had not been responsible for loading the blocks onto the vehicle.
Terry, who has no previous convictions, had however secured the load “the same as I had done before”.
Terry, of The Street, Hindringham, near Fakenham, appeared at court on Tuesday (November 23).
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He pleaded guilty to using a vehicle where the weight, distribution of its load, namely pallet of bricks, was such that its use on a road involved a danger of injury.
Ian Fisher, mitigating, said Terry, who has no criminal record, had been driving cars and HGVs for more than 40 and 35 years respectively with an “unblemished” record.
Mr Fisher said: “He’s a proud man with an exemplary driving record.
“He’s very disappointed to be in this position.”
He worked as a driver, doing farm work for a haulage firm based at Hindringham but was also sub-contracted to do other work for other operators, as he was doing when this incident occurred.
On the day he went to the Lenwade depot and sat inside his cab, as he was required to, as the concrete blocks were loaded by forklift.
Mr Fisher said: “He’s not allowed to play any part in the loading at all.”
Once put on the lorry Terry had to help secure the load with ratchet straps.
Mr Fisher said Terry believed the incident happened as a result of damage to the wooden pallet when the blocks were loaded by forklift.
Mr Fisher said: “If one of the planks of the pallet becomes damaged the base for the slabs becomes insecure."
Alan Lusher, chair of the bench of magistrates, said the injuries which resulted from the incident were relatively minor.
He accepted Terry had a “quite exemplary” driving record and imposed three penalty points.
Terry was also fined £267, ordered to pay £85 costs and a £34 victim surcharge.
Mr Collins, 51, and his wife Alison, 50, were travelling from their home in Bunwell to visit Holkham when the blocks fell onto the car.
Speaking at the time of the incident, Mr Collins credited the car, which had just 700 miles on the clock, for saving their lives.
“The windscreen collapsed but luckily it pretty much held. It was quite amazing that we walked away,” he said.
The Tesla’s in-built dash cam captured the shocking moment the blocks fell from the lorry and crashed down on its bonnet, windscreen and roof.
The footage has made headlines around the world and been shared on Tesla enthusiast social media sites as far afield as America, Canada and Australia.
Mr Collins said he had also been contacted by the Driver and Vehicle Standards Agency (DVSA), which plans to use the footage and photos in a social media campaign to raise awareness.