Forth Road Bridge closure: ‘Not guilty’ plea to dangerous driving
A Lithuanian lorry driver, whose vehicle overturned on the Forth Road Bridge yesterday causing major travel disruption, has appeared in court.
Juozas Zilvys (56), appeared from custody at Dunfermline Sheriff Court this afternoon and denied dangerous driving.
He was granted bail despite opposition from the Crown, over concerns he may not return to Scotland for his trial.
The bridge was closed in both directions after the lorry was blown over in high winds at 2.50pm on Tuesday.
Zilvys, appeared in the dock with a translator. At one point he became agitated and she had to tell him to keep quiet.
Zilvys denies that on 14th March on the northbound carriageway of the Forth Road Bridge he drove a lorry dangerously, by failing to comply with road signs prohibiting high-sided vehicles including lorries to cross 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 Claire Bremner opposed bail on the grounds there was a significant risk of Zilvys failing to attend future court hearings.
Defence solicitor Alexander Flett said his client was a married father of three grown-up daughters and his job involved him delivering furniture from Lithunania to Scotland and other parts of the UK once or twice a month.
“I believe the area he lives is covered by the European Arrest Warrant,” added Mr Flett.
“There is nothing to suggest that this gentleman would fail to appear. There’s nothing to suggest he’s more likely to fail to appear than anyone else.”
Zilvys, of Lekicial, Lithuania, was granted bail by Sheriff Mark Stewart and trial was set for 17th June. An intermediate diet will take place on 8th June and Zilvys was told he would have to return for both dates.
Meanwhile, the driver of the lorry that overturned on the Forth Road Bridge in January’s gales, blocking it for 19 hours, has been fined £1,000 and banned from driving for two years.
Aleksander Niemiec, from Macclesfield in Cheshire, was also ordered to re-sit the driving test and HGV licence test.
Niemiec (55) admitted dangerous driving on 11th January by failing to comply with road signs.
The bridge was closed to high-sided vehicles due to high winds at the time.
He appeared before Sheriff Kenneth Maciver at Edinburgh Sheriff Court with a Polish interpreter.
Sheriff Maciver told Niemiec, “This was a wilful disregard for the road signs. The consequences were considerable.
“The bridge was closed for a long time and it is a major artery for road traffic in Scotland.
“It caused major diversions for many hundreds, if not thousands of vehicles, and inconvenience because of your stupidity.”