'U-turn' drink driver who killed Chorley dad on M1 is jailed

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A drunk motorist who did a U-turn on a motorway - causing the death of a Chorley man - has been jailed for 11 years

Dad-of-four Mark Downham died two days after suffering injuries when Adrian Radu, 28, ploughed into the van he was a passenger in on the M1 motorway.

Adrian Radu

Adrian Radu

Judge Gregory Dickinson QC, sitting at Nottingham Crown Court, told Radu he would be given an extended driving ban of 13 and a half years.

He said Radu - who was found with a bottle of whisky in his jacket - had shown a reckless disregard for the safety of other motorists before his "disgraceful" decision to drive away from the scene towards oncoming traffic.

At about 5.40am on Saturday, March 24, police officers were called to a collision involving a car driven by Radu, a van, and a lorry on the southbound M1, about two kilometres after junction 27 with the A608.

Mr Downham, 48, from Chorley, had been a back seat passenger.

He was taken to hospital but tragically died from his injuries two days later.


The court previously heard how moments before the fatal crash, Radu, originally from Romania, was seen by other motorists driving a Vauxhall Astra on the M1 southbound in an "erratic and dangerous manner" , often stopping for no apparent reason.


Dash cam footage of the crash showed Radu’s Astra travelling ahead of a lorry in lane two.


Suddenly his car broke sharply and commenced a U-turn manoeuvre, causing caused another vehicle travelling in the same lane to take evasive action and swerve into lane three to avoid a collision.


The van driver who was also travelling behind in lane two was unable to avoid colliding with the back of Radu’s Astra and also hit the offside of the lorry.


Following the crash, Radu failed to stop at the scene and instead drove a further half a mile the wrong way up lane four of the southbound carriageway of the M1, before eventually coming to a stop.
Radu, of Alfreton Road, Nottingham, failed a roadside breath test and was arrested. He subsequently providing a reading of 71mg - more than double the legal limit.

He admitted charges of causing death by dangerous driving, drink driving, driving while disqualified and driving without insurance.