Trucker jailed for driving the wrong way down a motorway while rushing for ferry

Emily Cleary
·3-min read
The trucker took the hazardous turning when he was running late for a ferry (swns)
The trucker took the hazardous turning because he was running late for a ferry (swns)

A trucker who drove the wrong way down a motorway in a bid to catch a ferry has been jailed.

Tomasz Mista hurtled towards drivers on the M20 as they flashed their lights and beeped their horns.

When prosecutors asked why he thought motorists were flashing him, he replied: “Because they had never seen such a crazy person on the road.”

Laughing under cross-examination, he added: “Who says the style which I was driving was dangerous?

“I’ve seen a lot on the roads - you can pull that [short-cut] off. Who says the style which I was driving was dangerous?"

“If there was someone else driving in the opposite direction at a high speed [and we crashed] they would be to blame.”

The trucker took the hazardous turning when he was running late for a ferry (swns)
Tomasz Mista laughed in court as he recalled the events of October 2020 (swns)

The 25-year-old joined the motorway near Folkestone, Kent, on the wrong side and was caught on camera swerving across the lanes and into the hard shoulder.

The Polish national claimed a potential crash would have been the other drivers’ fault, because he drove the wrong way “carefully”.

He was jailed at Canterbury Crown Court on Thursday after a jury took just 39 minutes to reach a unanimous guilty verdict.

After being found guilty of dangerous driving, Mista was handed a ten month prison sentence. However, as he has been in custody on remand since the incident last October, he will be freed imminently under the good behaviour rule which allows offenders to be released after serving half their sentence.

The events unfolded when Mista mistakenly drove his box-truck down the Channel Tunnel’s approach road in Folkestone in October last year.

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When told he needed the Ferry terminal in Dover, the trucker of six years reversed his Duzubasek Transport lorry, spun around, and took off London-bound at 20-30mph, stopping occasionally for traffic.

Representing himself in court, Mista explained he tried using a motorway lane by waving oncoming cars out the way, but was forced into the hard shoulder.

He continued for two-and-a-half miles, spoke on his phone and even entered the inside carriageway on one occasion as motorists sounded their horns.

DC Lee Rowlinson witnessed the drama unfolding a mile from junction 11, London-bound, as at least six vehicles flashed their lights. Mista was then arrested.

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He admitted in a police interview to using his phone and driving the wrong way but denied it was dangerous or that he was frightened.

Mista, of no fixed UK address, told the court he was a professional driver for six years, adding: "As far as I’m concerned this is not a serious matter."

But judge Recorder Richard Smith replied: “Even though you may not have considered the situation dangerous, even though you didn’t find it frightening, I’m sure those who saw you coming towards them at speed were both fearful and frightened.

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“Moving against the flow of high speed traffic for 2.5 miles created an obvious risk of collision and risk of devastating fatal consequences.”

The judge added Mista's previous good character, cooperation with police and being unable to drive in the UK were mitigating factors.

Mista, who wore a blue and yellow tracksuit in court and spoke with the aid of an interpreter, now faces a three-year driving ban.

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