A21

Lorry driver drove wrong way down dual carriageway for 12 MILES jailed

Polish lorry driver, 61, who drove wrong way down dual carriageway for 12 MILES is jailed for five months

  • Kryzstof Mazurkiewicz, 61, was said to have ignored repeated warnings from motorists as her travelled on the A21 between Sevenoaks and Tonbridge 
  • It is thought he travelled up to 40mph for 15 to 20km on the dual carriageway
  • Judge Julian Smith banned Mazurkiewicz from driving for two years and jailed him for five and a half months. He is expected to be released in two weeks. 

A lorry driver who drove the wrong way on a dual carriageway in Kent for 20km has been jailed. 

Kryzstof Mazurkiewicz, 61, was said to have ignored repeated warnings from motorists as her travelled on the A21 between Sevenoaks and Tonbridge in the early hours on March 22 this year. 

Maidstone Crown Court heard that he drove between 15 to 20km at 40mph, and at one point, manoeuvred his HGV and trailer around a lorry which had straddled two lanes in a bid to stop him. 

Kryzstof Mazurkiewicz, 61, was said to have ignored repeated warnings from motorists as her travelled on the A21 between Sevenoaks and Tonbridge (stock image)

Kryzstof Mazurkiewicz, 61, was said to have ignored repeated warnings from motorists as her travelled on the A21 between Sevenoaks and Tonbridge (stock image)

Kryzstof Mazurkiewicz, 61, was said to have ignored repeated warnings from motorists as her travelled on the A21 between Sevenoaks and Tonbridge (stock image) 

No accidents were caused and no one was injured. 

Judge Julian Smith gasped when he was told of the distance he had travelled and sentenced him to five and a half months in prison.  

The court heard that police were contacted by several concerned drivers on the northbound carriageway at around 3am. 

Prosecutor Lucy Luttman said: ‘One witness saw the defendant driving towards him and so flashed his lights to indicate for him to stop.

‘The defendant pulled up alongside him and the witness explained he was going the wrong way.

‘The defendant didn’t respond but in fairness to him, the witness said he thought it was probably because there was a language barrier.

‘The defendant pulled away and continued driving against the flow of traffic. Numerous other vehicles flashed the defendant trying to indicate for him to stop.’

She added that the risk to other road users was ‘substantial’ and aggravated by his disregard of those trying to alert him.

He was seen around 15 minutes later by another HGV driver, still driving the wrong way. 

‘It seems word (about him) had gone around the lorry-driving community and the other HGV driver tried to block the defendant’s path,’ Miss Luttman said. He was concerned there would be a serious collision so he straddled the carriageway with his vehicle. 

The case was heard at Maidstone Crown Court earlier this week

The case was heard at Maidstone Crown Court earlier this week

The case was heard at Maidstone Crown Court earlier this week

‘The defendant, however, didn’t stop and instead drove his vehicle around the lorry, up the central reservation area, and then carried on in the direction of the oncoming traffic.’

Mazurkiewicz was eventually stopped by police. When questioned, he told them he had been driving for five hours, but appeared to fall asleep in his cab while waiting for officers to close the road and assist him in turning his vehicle around. 

The court heard that he initially drove towards the police vehicles blocking the carriageway, struck a kerb on the slip road, swerved and then collided with the rear of a patrol car as he pulled up. 

He passed a roadside breath test and maintained that he was properly rested and had not fallen asleep in his cab as suspected. 

The court heard that he had set off from Redditch in Worcestershire at 10pm and was headed to Dover. 

He was unable to explain how or at which point he joined the A21 in the wrong direction. 

Mazurkiewicz was eventually stopped by police on the road (stock image)

Mazurkiewicz was eventually stopped by police on the road (stock image)

Mazurkiewicz was eventually stopped by police on the road (stock image) 

‘As soon as he realised he started to think about how he could ‘get out of there’ but said there was nowhere for him to stop. He couldn’t find a lay-by in which he could stop and call police,’ Miss Luttman added.  

‘He completely accepted it was dangerous and irresponsible, and said his driving was ‘like an inexperienced driver who had only just got their licence’.’

The court heard Mazurkiewicz had a clean DVLA record with no previous convictions in either the UK or his country of origin, Poland.   

Speaking via a prison video link and through an interpreter, Mazurkiewicz told the court he has struggled to work out what happened that night.  

‘I have been thinking about it ever since I ended up in prison and I cannot come up with a reason. If only I could turn back time. However, that’s impossible,’ he said.

‘Bearing in mind my years of experience driving HGVs, I honestly cannot understand how I came to be on the wrong side of the road and I cannot provide an answer.’

Judge Julian Smith said he gave him ‘the benefit of doubt’ that he had not driven while exhausted, but added that the fact there was no resulting accident or damage was down to the time of night and attentiveness of other motorists.   

He was banned from driving for two years.  

‘This was a persistent, bad mistake rather than you being so tired you couldn’t think,’ the judge told Mazurkiewicz.

‘You unfortunately let yourself down and put other road users at risk.’

Due to time spent in custody on remand, he is expected to be released in two weeks.

References

  1. ^ Gemma Parry For Mailonline (www.dailymail.co.uk)

Details released on latest south London road scheme focused on improving walking & cycling

Details released on latest south London road scheme focused on improving walking & cycling
Details released on latest south London road scheme focused on improving walking & cycling
Details released on latest south London road scheme focused on improving walking & cycling
Details released on latest south London road scheme focused on improving walking & cycling
Details released on latest south London road scheme focused on improving walking & cycling

Image credit: Pixabay/Lewisham Council

Transport for London (TfL) has confirmed that improvements will be made to a stretch of the A21 between the junction with Ladywell Road, south of Lewisham town centre, and the gyratory at the South Circular Road in Catford.

Works will start on Monday 24 August with measures expected to be in place by mid-September.

TfL say they are working closely with boroughs across London to “ensure that transport plays its role in enabling a healthy and sustainable recovery from coronavirus”.

Measures are being introduced quickly to help improve the environment for walking and cycling as well as encouraging people to use buses along this key route.

Residents in the area should look out for a letter from TfL with more information and are encouraged to share comments and feedback via the Government website.

Features include:

  • Existing bus and cycle lanes to be extended to 24/7 operation, to maintain separation between cyclists and traffic around the clock and to reduce bus journey times for people using public transport

  • A new 20mph limit throughout to reduce the risk of collisions

  • New sections of protected cycle space, including segregated cycle lanes using cylinders along Molesworth Street and parts of Lewisham High Street

  • An increase in the total length of bus lanes on the corridor

  • A bus stop bypass to protect people cycling

  • The introduction of a number of banned turns to reduce the risk of collisions between people cycling and motor vehicles, including a left turn ban from Ladywell Road to A21 except buses, cycles and taxis, a right turn ban from Courthill Road to A21 except buses, cycles and taxis, and a southbound right turn ban into Wildfell Road

  • Four side roads to be made exit only, except cycles: Rosenthal Road, Feldlay Road, Roxley Road and Mount Pleasant Road

  • 80m of parking and loading bays removed from A21 and relocated to side roads where possible

  • A pelican crossing on Lewisham High Street (just south of the junction with Molesworth) will be converted to a walking and cycling toucan crossing.

A monitoring programme will be in place to consider the impact of these temporary changes, including banned turns, to review the impact on the local area. The banned turns being introduced in TfL’s scheme are considered essential for the safety of people cycling in the area.

Details released on latest south London road scheme focused on improving walking & cycling

Cllr Sophie McGeevor, Lewisham’s Cabinet Member for Environment and Transport, said: “We are pleased that TfL has recognised the huge potential for improving the safety of cyclists on the busy A21 corridor between Lewisham and Catford.

“With more people cycling for the first time as a consequence of COVID-19, enhancing cycle safety is a priority for Lewisham Council. Public transport capacity is limited so supporting more people cycle will improve air quality, reduce congestion, improve the environment for pedestrians, and prevent a car led recovery from COVID-19.

“We have asked TfL to monitor the impact of these changes closely and we will be working with them to review the scheme.”

Lewisham Council say these are temporary measures, being introduced quickly as part of TfL’s broader aim to ensure a healthy and sustainable recovery from COVID-19.

A spokesperson for the council said: “Having worked with TfL for some time on the proposals we believe this strongly builds the case for our long term ambition to have a fully segregated and permanent cycle way along the ‘Lewisham spine’ on this stretch of the A21.

“We understand that the modal filters may add a few extra minutes to your journey time. Although we would like to encourage you to move to more sustainable forms of transport which are permitted to enter our low traffic areas – such as walking, cycling or via public transport – we understand you may need to travel by car on some occasions.

“Following your feedback we have been working with Satnav providers to update their systems and have also been in touch with online maps such as Google. Now, if you use a digital mapping tool such as a Satnav or Google maps, it will show you a route which avoids the modal filters.“

Cameras have now been installed in three out of four modal filter locations on bus and emergency services routes in Dermody Road, Manor Lane and Ennersdale Road.

This means that any driver, with the exception of bus and emergency vehicle drivers, who passes through these filters will be recorded on camera and issued with a penalty charge notice.

The charge is set by London Councils at £130 (or a reduced rate if paid within 14 days). It is expected that this will help reduce some of the traffic alternative routes that have been identified to the west of the railway line.

Details released on latest south London road scheme focused on improving walking & cycling
Details released on latest south London road scheme focused on improving walking & cycling
Details released on latest south London road scheme focused on improving walking & cycling