A man who pulled a U-turn on a 70mph stretch of a Peterborough parkway said a lack of sleep and fasting for Ramadan may have had an impact on his driving.
Tahir Khalil performed the dangerous manoeuvre on the west bound carriageway of the Fletton parkway at about 7.30am on Saturday, June 3.
Drivers braked to avoid a collision with Khalil’s blue Toyota, and he was only stopped by the brave actions of off duty PCSO Sallie Lunness, who chased after him on foot.
Today (Thursday) Khalil was given a 38 week prison sentence, suspended for two years at Peterborough Crown Court after the father of two pleaded guilty to dangerous driving and failing to give a sample of breath at a previous hearing.
PCSO Lunness was nominated for a commendation from the High Sheriff for her bravery.
Laura Stephenson, defending, told the court: “He has not been able to explain fully why he made the manoeuvre - he felt it may have been that he had not had enough sleep, and also feels possibly fasting may have affected him.”
The court was told PCSO Lunness came across the incident when she was travelling to work.
James McKernon, prosecuting, told the court she initially thought there had been an accident after seeing the car facing towards the central reservation.
Mr McKernon said: “The vehicle then turned to travel the wrong way, through on coming traffic. “PCSO Lunness tried to block the vehicle’s path, and got out of her vehicle and waved her arms to alert the driver.
“Khalil had the window partially down, so she was able to speak to him - but he ignored her and drove off.
“She chased on foot, banging on the window - he was travelling slowly as other vehicles had stopped.
“At one point the PCSO was between a lorry and the vehicle, and she feared she may be trapped. “Eventually she was able to reach into the vehicle and pull the keys out of the ignition to bring it to a halt.”
The court was told while there was no suggestion Khalil had been drinking, he did not provide a specimen of breath either at the roadside or at the police station.
Miss Stephenson added: “Mental health is something he has had assistance with, and he suffers from depression.
“There was no harm caused here - he is realistic and recognises there was risk and wishes me to express his remorse.
“He is a father of two, with a 17-year-old and a 19-year-old. His 17-year-old son has learning disabilities and he takes him to the special school he goes to every day. His family rely on him.”
Judge Sean Enright described the manoeuvre as ‘extraordinary,’ saying the best way to describe his actions was that ‘he had a meltdown.’
Along with the suspended sentence, Khalil was ordered to carry out 200 hours of unpaid work, and was banned from driving for two years. He will have to take an extended retest before he is given his licence back.