Bristol truck driver who hit M5 gantry convicted of dangerous driving

A tipper truck driver has been convicted of dangerous driving after crashing into an overhead gantry on the M5 near Bristol. The crash resulted in a noise “like an explosion”[1] around the motorway on March 2 last year.

The M5 was closed for around 14 hours due to concerns that the gantry could collapse. Dramatic pictures from the scene show the 32-tonne lorry wedged[2] between the gantry and the road surface.

Anthony Baker, aged 48 and from Downend, had denied the charge but was convicted by a jury after a two-day trial at Bristol Crown Court. He was released on bail and will be sentenced on Friday, August 2 at the same court.

The court heard how Baker, of Garnett Place, got behind the wheel of the 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.

Brad Hardwidge heard the collision before he saw it. He said: “I heard it from the other end of our site, it sounded like a distant explosion. It’s adjacent to our off-road buggy tracks at Max Events.”

Another witness, who preferred not to be named, spotted the aftermath while he was out walking his dog this morning in a neighbouring field. He said he felt something had “gone drastically wrong” to allow the vehicle to end up in the position it did, but that he was glad no one was injured.

The bed of a tipper truck wedged between the overhead gantry and the road surface of the M5 yesterday (March 2)
The bed of a tipper truck wedged between the overhead gantry and the road surface of the M5 yesterday (March 2)

The M5 was fully shut for almost 14 hours to make sure the structure was safe. It was then closed again the following weekend as the gantry was fully removed.

Baker told police during an interview he did not usually check the lorry bed had lowered after making a delivery but in hindsight stated he should have. He 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.

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.”


  1. ^ noise “like an explosion” (
  2. ^ Dramatic pictures from the scene show the 32-tonne lorry wedged (
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