A14 crash driver had taken drugs

The aftermath of the crash caused by James Martin
The aftermath of the crash caused by James Martin

A motorist who smashed head-on into another vehicle when he drove the wrong way along a slip road on to the A14 had a cocktail of drugs in his system.

James Martin, 38, from Wellingborough, drove his Mercedes S-Class the wrong way along the Junction 13 slip road at about 10.30am on February 17 last year.

James Martin

James Martin

Jailing him for a year at Northampton Crown Court on Monday, Recorder Sam Mainds said it was only a “fluke” that the horrific head-on smash did not result in a death or serious injury.

Martin was also banned from driving for five years.

The court was told Martin had smoked cannabis in the early hours before the crash and that he had also taken more than his normal dose of the sedative diazepam.

David Allan, prosecuting, said the motorist heading in the opposite direction had no chance to avoid Martin as he saw him a split second after overtaking another vehicle.

He added: “It was a very serious collision and the air ambulance was called.

“Fortunately the complainant’s injuries were not serious, he suffered a slight back injury, cut to his head and minor injuries to his chest caused by the seatbelt.

“Martin was arrested and admitted smoking cannabis at about 3am.

“He had driven the wrong way along the slip road for about 400 metres.”

The court was told Martin had been returning home from collecting some items from his partner’s home as the couple had an argument the previous evening.

Martin admitted dangerous driving and another of driving while unfit through drugs at a previous hearing.

The court was told he had been living at Livingstone House, in Birmingham, which is a centre which helps people cope with drinking and drug addiction.

Martin had previous convictions for drink driving, driving while disqualified and driving without insurance.

Recorder Mainds said: “You were so under the influence of a concoction of drugs that you did not know what you were doing.

“I see on the photographs of the incident that a child’s car seat was thrown from one vehicle, I don’t know which car. A child could have been in that seat – killed by your driving.”