A STANTON-BY-DALE firm was fined £3,750 when failing to attend court after a wheel came off a lorry and nearly caused a motorway pile-up.
As police tried to warn them, drivers were forced to swerve as it veered across the M1 at 50mph, magistrates at Ilkeston were told.
The police patrol was powerless to stop the wheel as it went from the grass verge, onto the hard shoulder and then into the slow lane.
The officers turned on flashing blue lights and began to drive slowly but the wheel kept on rolling, said Miss Syma Akhtar, prosecuting.
“Traffic was taking emergency action, turning and swerving to avoid a collision. But there was no collision and the wheel rolled into the central reservation and onto the crash barrier,” she told the court.
The £3,750 fine was imposed on Sisson and French of Low’s Lane, Stanton-by-Dale. It must also pay court costs of £58 and clear the total bill in 28 days.
The firm was not represented in court for Thursday’s hearing. It made no plea to the allegation of using a vehicle likely to cause danger of injury at South Normanton on August 31.
A £200 fine and £50 costs were ordered from the driver Daniel Berridge, 25, of Melbourne Road, Nottingham. He attended court and admitted the charge.
Berridge told magistrates: ”I believe I checked the vehicle the best way with the knowledge I have.
“I understand the previous day that maintenance was carried out, which I didn’t find out about until the incident occurred.”
Presiding magistrate Irene Longstaff said it was a pity the firm had not come to the hearing and added: “They have ignored the court in not attending today.
“There could have been an exceptionally serious accident, a major pile-up on the motorway. If they had been carrying out maintenance the previous day, it would have been interesting to know what the maintenance was.”
The court was told that a second wheel came off the articulated lorry’s tractor unit in the same incident and was ‘nowhere to be seen’.
The incident happened at 9.50am as the lorry was being driven by Berridge at about 55mph. It was loaded with concrete. The police officers were behind and noticed ‘a cloud of dust drop onto the road’ from the lorry.
The driver pulled onto the hard shoulder and police noticed a second cloud of white dust before the runaway wheel was seen, said Miss Akhtar. At the time, Berridge was a ‘casual temporary worker’ for the firm.