A 36-year-old homeless man’s ‘utterly shocking’ driving the wrong way on a busy dual carriageway resulted in him being jailed for 16 months at Gloucester Crown Court.
Nine shocked motorists reported Joseph Gordon driving dangerously on the A417 dual carriageway at Birdlip and police were mobilised to stop him, the court heard on Friday.
Jailing Gordon, Recorder Christopher Quinlan QC told him: “It is impossible to know what got into your head that afternoon because the references about you describe you as a decent upstanding citizen.”
The judge was told Gordon’s driving that day was so bad that an officer involved in the pursuit said it was the “worse she had seen during her career”.
At one point she had to stand down from the pursuit fearing for public safety after watching Gordon move into the opposite lane in front of traffic and then onto the grass verge.
Gordon, of no fixed address, pleaded guilty to dangerous driving and refusing to provide a specimen of blood for analysis on March 4.
Prosecuting, Neil Treharne said Gordon was reported by nine separate witnesses to be driving at excessive speed up the wrong side of the dual carriageway and onto the grass verge alongside the A419 and A417.
“Thomas Dawson saw a car in front swerve to the right before seeing a white Renault come towards him against oncoming traffic,” said the prosecutor.
“He moved out of the way to avoid a collision.
“Another witness saw him travelling towards him on the wrong side and witnessed several cars swerve out the way to avoid him.”
CCTV evidence showed Gordon drive down past the Air Balloon and cross over to the opposite side of the road and up onto the grass verge.
At that point the police officer in pursuit backed off because it was getting too dangerous to continue.
“Once the road cleared the officer continued pursuit,” Mr Treharne told the court.
“The officer described it as the worst she has ever seen. When she came alongside him she described him as looking sleepy, slumped on the steering wheel as if using it as a prop. He appeared to be under the influence of drugs and/or alcohol.”
Defending barrister, Joe Maloney said his client has expressed “deep remorse.”
“He said he was sorry and that the only positive is that no one got hurt. He accepts this is a serious example of dangerous driving.
“He has also said he should accept suitable punishment for his stupidity.”
Recorder Quinlan said the driving was “absolutely shocking.”
“The potential of absolute carnage was high,” he said.
“It is a matter of good fortune no one got killed or seriously injured.”
Recorder Quinlan QC said looking at the references provided it appears that Gordon is a “decent man.”
“What got into your head that afternoon you have not revealed.”
Gordon was sentenced to 14 months for the dangerous driving and a further two months for the failure to produce a specimen. He was also disqualified for three years and eight months.
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