Leeds pensioner, 88, ends up driving on M1 in mobility scooter after taking wrong turn

An 88-year-old Leeds pensioner had to be rescued by police after taking a wrong turn in his mobility scooter and accidentally ending up on the M1.

Thursday, 14th May 2015, 3:29 pm
Police officers with the mobility scooter. Pic: Malik Walton

The elderly man from Crossgates was leaving a garden centre in south east Leeds while clutching a bunch of flowers but drove by mistake onto the M1 southbound at Junction 46.

Officers from West Yorkshire Police’s Roads Policing Unit and the Highways Agency were despatched to take him off the dangerous road shortly before 1pm yesterday.

The man was being assisted by a passing RAC patrol, who pulled over to help him, when police and highways officers arrived. He had travelled roughly two kilometres down the motorway.

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Police officers with the mobility scooter. Pic: Malik Walton

One West Yorkshire traffic officer told the YEP: “We came across him together and he was helped on his way home.

“He had not gone too far, we managed to get the scooter off at the next junction. He was uninjured, he was helped home by us and the Highways Agency.”

It is understood that the elderly man was driven home and the scooter company later arrived to pick up the mobility scooter.

RAC mobile tyre fitter, Howard Wroe, who spotted the elderly man, said: “I was travelling northbound to a job in York and happened to look across the carriageway, when I saw a mobility scooter travelling down the sliproad hard shoulder at junction 46.

Police officers with the mobility scooter. Pic: Malik Walton

“My first thought was for the safety of whoever was riding it – so I continued up to the next exit and made a call to the police. They were aware, but said that I could probably get to him quicker so I drove south and found the scooter still travelling on the hard shoulder, by this point about a mile away from the junction.

“Having a van as bright as RAC orange hopefully helped make me obvious, and the man pulled up and came to a stop just in front of me.

“He was shaken, and I was pleased I was able to get to him when I did. I stayed until a highways officer arrived shortly afterwards, and with the police they escorted the man safely off the motorway.”

West Yorkshire Police’s Roads Policing Unit later posted a picture of an officer driving the scooter along the hard shoulder of the M1.

PC Smith of West Yorkshire Police's Roads Policing Unit drives the scooter on the M1

A Highways Agency spokeswoman said: “We were made aware of a gentleman driving a motor scooter down the southbound M1 between junction 46 and 45 at 12:45 yesterday afternoon.

“We immediately sent one of our traffic officer patrols to the scene to make sure the driver was safe.

“The gentleman had travelled approximately 2km down the motorway. West Yorkshire Police attended and escorted the gentleman to a place of safety.”