Man blames sat nav after driving wrong way down Leeds motorway and injuring five people

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A driver blamed his sat nav after driving in the wrong direction on a motorway and injuring five people in a head-on collision.

A court heard Alan Crawshaw turned right into oncoming traffic at Lofthouse interchange near Leeds after he left a slip road of the M62.

Crawshaw’s Ford B-Max then collided with a Ford Fiesta in which a 10-year-old boy and his parents were travelling.

Ashleigh Metcalfe, prosecuting, said the father suffered a broken leg in the collision and his wife and son also required hospital treatment.

Crawshaw’s two passengers were also injured in the incident on August 13 last year.

One suffered fractured ribs, the other a broken nose and jaw.

Crawshaw, 55, spoke to police at the scene of the collision and told them the voice on his sat nav had told him to turn right.

He told officers: “Those sat navs have a lot to answer for.”

Crawshaw, of Ovenden Crescent, Halifax, pleaded guilty to two offences of causing serious injury by dangerous driving and one of driving a vehicle the wrong way down a motorway.

Ann-Marie Hutton, mitigating, said Crawshaw had been to pick up two of his friends shortly before the 4.45am collision and was not familiar with that area of motorway.

She said: “As the sat nav was being deployed the voice suggested that there ought to be a u-turn and then for him to turn right.

“When he came off the slip road and heard the voice to turn right, in a moment of inattention, he did just that.

“He accepts that as a consequence of that moment, serious consequences followed.”

Miss Hutton said Crawshaw had an “impeccable” driving record of 36 years prior to the incident.

She said Crawshaw, who was brought into court in a wheelchair, had been diagnosed with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease.

The barrister said Crawshaw possibly had only months left to live.

Crawshaw was given a six month prison sentence, suspended for 12 months. He was also banned from driving for two years.

The Recorder of Leeds, Judge Peter Collier, QC, said: “It was a moment of inattention or thoughtlessness when you obeyed the sat nav and made an immediate right turn.

“It was something that created significant risk of harm and of course did go on to cause harm.”

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