M6 police crash into wrong-way car
Published 20/08/2014 | 08:31
Traffic police had to crash into a car being driven at 50mph the wrong way down a motorway by a 77-year-old man with dementia.
Officers stopped the Honda Jazz on the M6 toll in the West Midlands after reports that it was heading south on the northbound carriageway, between junction T5 and T4.
The Central Motorway Police Group (CMPG) said the driver had dementia and had been reported missing by his family.
Inspector Mark Watkins, of CMPG, said traffic officers heading the opposite way to the Honda had to hit the side of the car in a manoeuvre usually used in pursuits, after weighing up the increasing danger to the other drivers on the road.
"It's a recognised pursuit tactic in order to bring incidents to a conclusion, and is only used if there's a risk to life," he said.
"That forced the car to stop, and it came to a halt in lane three."
He added that after studying video of the incident, police estimated the other driver had been travelling at 50mph.
The driver, from Rowley Regis in the West Midlands, was not hurt in the crash, while an officer suffered a minor injury.
The pensioner was returned home to the care of family.
Mr Watkins said his officers' brave actions prevented a more serious incident.
"This was an extremely unusual situation where the driver of the car had shown no intention to stop travelling in the wrong direction," he said.
"Traffic officers bravely took the decision to engineer a collision with the vehicle and I am sure that their selfless actions have prevented serious injury or worse to the driver and other motorists on the road.
"We were relieved that we could bring this situation to a safe conclusion and return the man home safe and well to his family."