Man high on cocaine and cannabis ‘ploughed’ HGV into van driver on M62

A man has been sentenced for driving a heavy goods vehicle into a broken down van on the M62 while being “out of it” on cocaine and cannabis.

By Richard Beecham
Friday, 5th August 2022, 4:30 pm

A sentencing at Leeds Crown Court heard how Ben Redfern had been weaving in and out of lanes on the M62 while terrified motorists, believing him to be asleep at the wheel, sounded their horns in an effort to wake him up.

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Redfern, 31, of Lindrick Close, Doncaster, then drove into a parked van in the hard shoulder, causing serious injuries to its owner, who had to be taken to hospital.

M62 close to the scene of the incident.

The court heard the defendant was driving a large car transporter eastbound on the M62, when four members of the public saw him driving erratically.

One said he was “wheeling across lanes” and that he appeared to be asleep at the wheel or “on something".

Other motorists were said to be beeping at Redfern in an attempt to wake him up, but one said it had no effect.

Redfern collided with a barrier near Ainley Top, but was “unperturbed” and returned to the motorway.

A motorist called 999, saying Redfern was driving across three lanes before entering the hard shoulder close to Junction 31.

In the hard shoulder was a man whose Mercedes van had broken down, and was waiting for assistance, before Redfern drove into the man and his car.

The victim was taken to Pinderfields Hospital in Wakefield and was treated for an open fracture on his left arm, and a laceration to his head.

When police attended the scene, they said Redfern was trapped in his vehicle and was sticking his tongue out at officers.

After conducting a roadside drugs test, Redfern tested positive for cocaine and cannabis in his system.

It was later discovered that the vehicle had been driven on false registration plates, and that Redfern was serving a driving ban at the time.

Redfern had pleaded guilty to dangerous driving and serious injury by dangerous driving.

Speaking later, Recorder Tahir Khan referenced a statement written by the victim, who said he still had nightmares about being stranded on a motorway and was now unable to go cycling and has frequent severe headaches.

A probation officer told the court that one of Redfern’s friends had given him the opportunity to make money by driving the vehicle from Leeds to Doncaster, but he fell asleep at the wheel.

The officer added: “He was in a bad time in his life, and went on the Aspire drug programme following his offending.

Mitigating, Benjamin Bell said his client was remorseful, adding: “[Redfern] was emotional about what he had done when he saw the photographs.”

Sentencing Redfern Recorder Khan said: “It’s clear that you were not fit to drive.

"People saw you weaving across the lanes appearing to be falling asleep and colliding with a barrier.

"You then ploughed into a man and his car in the hard shoulder – it appears you were so out of it that you did not even brake.

"It’s not an exaggeration to say his life has changed significantly as a result of your actions.”

He sentenced Redfern to four years imprisonment, with a five year driving ban.