A COURT has heard how a lorry driver feared for his life as he realised a youth was about to throw a lump of concrete from a motorway bridge.
Paul Thompson was driving his 47-ton truck southbound on the A1(M) in County Durham when David John Maitland launched the potentially deadly missile from a bridge over the motorway near Coxhoe, Durham Crown Court was today (Tuesday, April 29).
It hit his windscreen, causing it to shatter in front of him and damaging the dashboard.
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Fortunately, Mr Thompson was unhurt and managed to pull the vehicle off the road.
But in a statement read to the court, the driver said: “I could have lost control of my vehicle, resulting in serious injury or death.
“I braced myself for the impact and concentrated on keeping the wheels straight.”
Mr Thompson, a lorry driver of 13 years’ experience, was driving home after making a delivery to the Morrisons store in Consett.
Another driver, Mark Maddison – who was driving from Darlington to work at a postal depot in Team Valley, Gateshead - had a near escape when another missile narrowly missed his Ford Fiesta.
It fell in front of his car, forcing him to drive over it, the court heard.
In his statement, Mr Maddison said he was very shocked and Maitland’s actions were very dangerous and could have resulted in a fatal accident.
Both incidents happened late at night on November 13, 2012.
Maitland, now 20, of Linden Road, West Cornforth, pleaded guilty to criminal damage, being reckless as to whether life was endangered, and causing a danger to road users.
An 18-year-old who admitted being with Maitland at the time denied both charges and was today cleared, after a judge ordered his trial be stopped and the jury of six men and six women to return not guilty verdicts.
Earlier, Paul Abrahams, prosecuting, said Maitland had been the principal offender and thrown the concrete.
The jury was shown CCTV footage from the night.
At the time of the incident, police warned Maitland’s actions were putting drivers’ lives at risk.
Maitland will be sentenced at a later date.