A taxi driver nearly caused a head-on smash when he drove for five miles down the wrong side of a dual carriageway.
Chronicle Live reports that Rasel Ahmed put lives at risk when he travelled east towards Newcastle in the westbound carriageway on the A69 in the early hours of the morning.
James Palmer, prosecuting, said Rasel Ahmed, 25, had been working in his cab when he turned to travel east on the westbound carriageway as he turned on to the A69 at Prudhoe at around 5.15am on August 9.
A car and lorry were travelling west in the correct carriageway when they spotted the headlights of Ahmed’s Skoda directly ahead of them near Throckley.
Mr Palmer said: “The lorry was travelling at 55mph, so the car pulled out to overtake and as [the driver] is parallel with the lorry, there’s a left hand bend, which he couldn’t perfectly see.
“But, what he did see, to his alarm, was a set of headlights travelling towards him. It’s a dual carriageway, so there shouldn’t be lights travelling towards him.
“The lorry does an emergency stop and that allows a gap for [the car driver] to pull into on the left hand side.
“He then sees a vehicle whizzing past him in the wrong direction in the fast lane. He could make out the fact it was a dark-coloured vehicle and a taxi.”
Ahmed, who wasn’t carrying any passengers in his taxi at the time, was stopped by an officer near the A1 and told them he had made a mistake.
Mr Palmer added: “It was a period of prolonged bad driving and there might have been a head-on collision, which could have been tragic to say the least.”
Ahmed claimed to police he was travelling at 40 to 50mph but Mr Palmer said the Crown believed it was more like 60mph.
Sentencing the cabbie, who has no past convictions, to a 12-week prison sentence, suspended for 12 months, with 200 hours of unpaid work, District Judge Begley warned him that people get sent to prison for similar incidents of dangerous driving,
He added: “This was crass bad driving, particularly for a taxi driver.”
Mark Humble, mitigating, said Ahmed had made a mistake, was extremely remorseful and had now lost his job.