News, Culture & Society

Speeding truck driver late for a ferry is jailed for 10 months

Terrifying moment truck driver hurtles the wrong way down a motorway while speaking on his phone in ‘crazy’ bid to catch ferry as he is jailed for 10 months

  • Tomasz Mista drove the wrong way down the M20 motorway near Folkestone
  • The 25-year-old trucker flashed his lights and beeped his horn at other drivers 
  • He was caught on camera swerving across the lanes and on the hard shoulder
  • He was jailed for 10 months and now faces a driving ban of up to three years  

A trucker drove the wrong way down a motorway towards traffic while speaking on his phone in a ‘crazy’ bid to catch a ferry.

Tomasz Mista tried ordering drivers out of the M20’s inside lane as he hurtled towards them, with their headlights flashing and horns beeping at his driving.

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.

Polish truck driver Tomasz Mista drove the wrong way along the M20 while flashing his lights and honking his horn at motorists driving towards him

Mista, who was arrested in October and held in custody until Thursday's hearing, was released having already reached the midpoint of the 10-month sentence

Mista, who was arrested in October and held in custody until Thursday’s hearing, was released having already reached the midpoint of the 10-month sentence 

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

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

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 of six-years also told prosecutor Vivian Walters, he drove the wrong-way on the hard shoulder to paint road signs, on behalf of Highways England.

But after being found guilty of dangerous driving, Mista was handed a 10-month prison sentence.

As he was kept in custody on remand since last October, Mista could 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 at 2pm in October last year.

When told he needed the Ferry terminal in Dover, Mista 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.

A jury at Canterbury Crown Court, pictured, took just 39 minutes to convict Mista of dangerous driving

A jury at Canterbury Crown Court, pictured, took just 39 minutes to convict Mista of dangerous driving 

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.

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.

‘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.

Read more at DailyMail.co.uk