A DRIVER who was three-and-a-half times over the limit died in a head-on crash after travelling the wrong way along the M1 in Leeds while trying to escape police, an inquest heard.
Married father-of-two Saqab Zabir, 26, of St Wilfrid’s Garth, Harehills, suffered multiple fatal injuries when his Nissan Micra and a six-and-a-half ton Iveco van collided in the early hours of October 25 2013.
Wakefield Coroner’s Court heard police gave chase after spotting the Micra being driven erratically and over the speed limit heading out of Leeds city centre on the A61 Hunslet Road.
Two marked police cars were involved in a ‘tactical pursuit’ of the Micra after it failed to stop and ran red traffic lights.
Officers tried to box the Micra in on Pontefract Road at Stourton, but Mr Zabir managed to escape the manouvre and drove the wrong way round a roundabout and entered the exit slip road of the M1 at junction 44.
PC James Farrar told the inquest the pursuit was aborted for safety reasons at that point.
Drivers had to swerve out of the way as Mr Zabir drove the wrong way for more than two miles on the M1 northbound. Stephen North. a delivery driver for Stourton-based John Menzies, was driving an Iveco daily van from the M62 on to the M1 northbound at Lofthouse just before 4.30am that morning.
Mr North told police in a statement that ‘suddenly and out of nowhere’ he saw headlights heading towards him before the vehicles collided. Mr North suffered minor injuries but told the inquest he has not returned to work since the incident.
Recording a verdict that Mr Zabir’s death was the result of a road traffic collision, Coroner Mr Hinchliff, said: “When his blood was analysed he had three-and-a-half times the legal limit of alcohol in his system.”