Boozy soldier 'used to driving in Germany' crashed head-on into van after joining A1 on wrong side
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Matthew Hall ploughed into the oncoming vehicle after entering the A1 at J42 in West Yorkshire on the southbound carriageway, but was travelling north. It was after 3am on New Year’s Day and Hall had been boozing, Leeds Crown Court heard.
The police were called by several concerned motorists but they were unable to reach Hall in time before he collided with the light-goods vehicle heading in the correct direction. The victim had “no time to react” and his vehicle ended up on its side with the driver left hanging by his seat belt. He luckily only suffered minor injuries but had to take six weeks off work.
Hall was also left trapped in the driver’s seat. He too only suffered minor injuries but after his arrest blew over the drink-drive limit at the side of the road. He had 58 mcgs of alcohol in 100 mls of breath. The legal limit is 35 mcgs.
However, he was tested again at hospital almost three hours later and was under the limit, meaning no charge could be brought against him. However, 23-year-old Hall, of Nightingale Close, Northallerton, North Yorkshire, did later plead guilty to dangerous driving. He has no previous convictions.
Mitigating, Lisa Judge said he had been a serving soldier since 2016 and had spent much of his time driving for the Army abroad, which could have explained his error of judgement in joining the motorway on the wrong side.
She said: “He has no recollection of the incident and how it unfolded. He acknowledges it was a dangerous manoeuvre.”
She said that the Army was still keen to retain Hall.
Judge Tom Bayliss told Hall: “Astonishingly, the van driver sustained no serious injuries. This was down to luck, it could have easily resulted in a fatality.”
He gave Hall a 10-month sentence, suspended for 12 months, and banned him from driving for 12 months, telling him he must take an extended re-test to get his licence back.