Man disqualified from driving following 'selfish and thoughtless' actions on M4
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A man who contravened a rolling road block on the M4 before crashing into traffic lights and sending them into the carriageway has been fined £5,000.
Sean Thomas Matthews, 39, of Llanrhidian, Swansea, appeared at Swindon Magistrates on March 18 and pleaded guilty to dangerous driving, failing to stop for police, failing to stop following a collision and drink driving.
At approximately 10.15pm on Jan 12, 2021, PC Steve Harding was tasked to junction 16 of the M4 following reports that a man had been seen walking towards the carriageway. Concerned about his welfare, PC Harding set a rolling road block to approximately 30mph and activated rear boards in the vehicle which said ‘do not overtake’.
However, Matthews, who was driving a Tesla, ignored the signs and accelerated past the police vehicle at speeds in excess of 100mph. PC Harding activated his vehicle’s blue lights in an attempt to stop the vehicle, which exited the M4 at junction 16 before colliding with a traffic light pole, causing it to land in the road approximately 50 metres from its original position.
Matthews failed to stop and was lost to sight while PC Harding cleared the debris from the road to prevent further collisions. A short time later, a member of the public reported the vehicle driving slowly and with no lights in the eastbound carriageway between junction 15 and Membury services. Matthews was arrested after failing a roadside breath test.
PC Harding said: “The initial rolling road block was put in place due to concerns for the welfare of an individual who we were attempting to search for on the M4. Matthews, however, decided to completely ignore instructions not to overtake and did so at extreme speed, putting his life, and the lives of other road users at risk.
“Having failed to stop for police, Matthews then crashed his vehicle into a traffic light pole, sending it flying for 50 metres, endangering other road users. He continued on his way, despite damage to his car meaning he was driving on a road with no street lights, with no vehicle lights.
“His actions throughout the evening were selfish and thoughtless. His standard of driving was especially bad and fell well below the standard you would expect of a competent driver.” Matthews was given an 18 month community order, ordered to complete 100 hours of unpaid work, fined £5,000, ordered to pay £425 costs and disqualified from driving for 12 months.