Driver, worried about sick daughter, went into reverse on motorway

Lukszak Pietrzak reversed for a mile along the hard shoulder of the M8. Picture: Vic Rodrick

Lukszak Pietrzak reversed for a mile along the hard shoulder of the M8. Picture: Vic Rodrick

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A DRIVER reversed along the hard shoulder of Scotland’s busiest motorway for more than a mile in a bid to get home to his sick child, a court heard.

Lukszak Pietrzak eventually stopped on the white chevrons of the M8 slip road to Livingston, before pulling out into the path of fast-moving traffic to leave the motorway.

Livingston Sheriff Court was told a van driver coming up fast behind him had to brake sharply to avoid a collision.

Katrine Craig, prosecuting, said a lane had been closed at Junction 3a to Bathgate due to a vehicle fire and there was extensive queuing on the M8 as a result.

Traffic Scotland was monitoring the situation on CCTV and saw the accused’s blue BMW 525D driving out of the queue on to the hard shoulder then start to reverse.

She said: “This vehicle was seen to reverse back along the hard shoulder for more than a mile along the side of the queue of traffic.

“The vehicle then approached the on-slip at J3 where it paused for a break in the traffic and then reversed across the on-slip and proceeded further along the hard shoulder. There were vehicles coming down the slip road at speed at that time and obviously concerns about this.”

Mrs Craig said Pietrzak’s car then tried to join the flow of traffic coming off the motorway towards Bathgate by “forcing its way out” on to the slip road.

“This caused a van to brake in order to avoid a collision. Those who were monitoring the situation reported the matter to the police. And officers traced the accused.”

He later told police that he had to go home because his daughter was sick and claimed he had not seen the van taking evasive action.

Pietrzak, 31, a Polish national living in Livingston, West Lothian, appeared for sentence yesterday after earlier pleading guilty to driving dangerously on February 6, 2014.

Iain Smith, defending, claimed Pietrzak’s wife had called her husband and told him their two-year-old daughter was unable to breathe and had gone red in the face.

He said: “She had difficulties getting an ambulance because her English was so poor. The reality is – given the speed of the traffic at that point – rather than reversing down the hard shoulder he should have phoned the ambulance himself.”

Sheriff Peter Hammond fined him £450 and banned him from driving for a year.