Jul 20 2011 by Stephen Robertson, Stirling Observer Wednesday
AN 85-YEAR-OLD motorist caused chaos when he drove the wrong way for three miles on the M9.
Stirling Sheriff Court heard yesterday (Tuesday) that motorists had to swerve to avoid colliding with Matthew Mackinnon.
He made a three-point turn on the motorway after taking a wrong turn.
The elderly driver – now aged 86 – then drove the wrong way for around three miles, near the Birkhill Road overbridge, on March 27.
Fiscal depute Sonia Kalkat said a motorcyclist was travelling south near junction nine about 8.30pm and saw a car on the hard shoulder, facing south.
“He then saw this vehicle leave the hard shoulder and turn into lane two, facing the central barrier.”
The motorcyclist had to brake to avoid a collision while several other vehicles had to swerve, the court heard.
The fiscal depute said that Mackinnon then completed his dangerous manoeuvre before setting off north on the southbound carriageway.
Police were called, she said, and “upon travelling north from junction nine for two miles came upon the vehicle travelling at around 40mph, going north on the southbound carriageway.
“Despite using lights and horn, they were unable to get the accused’s attention.”
Mackinnon was eventually stopped after a further mile.
The fiscal depute added: “The accused appeared to be oblivious to his predicament and it took several minutes of persuasion to get him onto the hard shoulder.”
Mackinnon later told police: “I was trying to find a way to get back because I had taken a wrong turn somewhere.”
The 86-year-old, from Carluke, pleaded guilty to the dangerous driving charge.
Mackinnon did not have a solicitor but his son told the court: “I’m sure that he wasn’t aware that it was a motorway and thought that it was a two-way road.
“If he had known it was a motorway he would not have done this. He has never done anything like this in his life.”
Sheriff Paul Arthurson acknowledged Mackinnon’s previously unblemished driving record but added that the serious nature of the offence had to be taken into consideration.
Sheriff Arthurson added: “You will fully appreciate that people could have died on the road that day.”
He fined Mackinnon £400, banned him from driving for three years and ordered him to sit an extended driving test to regain his licence, though the court heard that it was not Mackinnon’s intention to do so.