A lorry driver who caused major traffic disruption when his truck was blown over on the Forth Road Bridge has admitted he ignored closure signs.
The bridge was closed to all traffic for several hours when the lorry being driven by Juozas Zilvys overturned in high winds on March 14.
Zilvys, 56, who is Lithuanian, admitted he drove dangerously on the northbound carriageway by failing to comply with road signs prohibiting high-sided vehicles, including lorries, from crossing the bridge due to adverse weather conditions, and that he drove on the bridge whereby his lorry was blown over on to its side, causing damage to the bridge.
Depute fiscal Azrah Yousaf told Dunfermline Sheriff Court the incident occurred at around 2.50pm and the bridge had been closed to high-sided vehicles from 11.20am that day.
“The accused was travelling from Glasgow to this area. The police advise he would have passed no fewer than six pictorial signs which were illuminated and can be understood by drivers of any language,” said Ms Yousaf.
.“He continued on to the bridge and as he reached the mid-span a strong gust of wind caught the trailer blowing it over on to its side.”
The lorry landed on the central reservation resulting in the bridge being closed to all traffic for three and a half hours.
An ambulance taking a child to the Sick Kids Hospital in Edinburgh had to go via Kincardine because of the closure, added the depute.
When cautioned and charged by police, Zilvys replied, “What signs were there?”
However, defence solicitor Roshni Joshi said her client now accepted he had seen the closure signs and knew he should not have tried to cross.
“He has said sorry to me multiple time today. He has expressed remorse for the damage, the inconvenience and the sheer recklessness of his decision,” she added.
Sheriff Charles MacNair told Zilvys, who was accompanied by a translator, “You chose to take your lorry on to the Forth Road Bridge and I find that you did so knowing that should not have done so because of the various signs which you passed.
“That was an extremely dangerous thing to do and it is only by the greatest of good fortune that no-one was seriously injured or worse.”
He banned Zilvys from driving for 30 months and fined him £2500, which must be paid before he leaves the UK.