AN aspiring pilot who drove the wrong way down the motorway while high on drugs and trying to get to McDonald’s has been jailed.

Car dealership owner Hassan Waseem nearly crashed head-on into a police car while travelling in the wrong direction on the M56.

Today, Friday, he was handed a year behind bars – with a judge remarking that it had been a ‘miracle’ that nobody had been killed.

Chester Crown Court heard that a lorry driver spotted a white BMW 3 Series moving erratically on the westbound carriageway between junction 11 at Daresbury and junction 12 for Runcorn, shortly before 5.30am on Wednesday, January 9.

Waseem, from Stockport, was behind the wheel – swerving between lanes, drifting into the hard shoulder and speeding up and slowing down again.

The defendant came to a stop in the first lane with the HGV driver, who had called the police, also pulling over in the hard shoulder.

When the lorry driver confronted Waseem, he replied: “Can I just say something? Shut your mouth.”

He then performed a U-turn and began driving the wrong side down the motorway – nearly crashing into a police patrol car attending the incident at speed, with the officer able to take evasive action in order to avoid a collision.

Dashcam footage of the near miss

When he was finally pulled over, the defendant – owner of the Manchester Motor Select car dealership who had hoped to embark upon training in order to become a pilot – was described as being agitated, testing positive for cannabis and telling police that he had been trying to get to McDonald’s.

A snap bag of cannabis and a grinder was found in the vehicle, while Waseem was also uninsured.

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Waseem admitted dangerous driving, driving under the influence of cannabis, possession of cannabis and driving without insurance during an earlier hearing at Warrington Magistrates Court.

Judge Patrick Thompson jailed him for a year and banned him from driving for three-and-a-half years.

Warrington Guardian:

Hassan Waseem

Sentencing, judge Thompson said: “You were clearly heavily under the influence of drugs when you were driving.

“Your driving had already been diabolical and dangerous before you began to drive the wrong way down the carriageway at some speed.

“This was unbelievable – dangerous driving really doesn’t do it justice.

“It was a miracle that you, your passenger or an innocent road user wasn’t killed and that this didn’t end in complete and utter disaster.

“If ever there was a case that highlights the dangers of young people using cannabis, this is it.”

Forfeiture and destruction of the drugs and paraphernalia was also ordered, while Waseem will also be required to pass an extended retest after his driving ban lapses.

Sergeant Anton Sullivan, the driver of the police car nearly involved in the crash, said: “To have a car driving towards me head-on was terrifying.

“Not only did I fear for my own safety, but also for the safety of my colleagues and the hundreds of other motorists who were using that stretch of road.

“At the time of the incident, there was moderate traffic on the carriageway - including a number of HGVs.

“Thankfully, Waseem pulled onto the hard shoulder before anyone was killed or seriously injured.

“However, this does not excuse his behaviour and I have no doubt that the consequences of his actions would have been far worse had it not been for other motorists taking evasive action.”

Superintendent Jo Marshall-Bell added: “This case highlights the dangers of driving while under the influence of illegal drugs.

“Upon his arrest Waseem had no recollection of the incident itself.

“He couldn’t even remember that he had driven on the M56, let alone the fact that he had driven the wrong way.

“It was only when he was shown footage of the incident that he realised the seriousness of his actions and the danger he posed to other motorists.

“Not only is he lucky to be alive, it is a wonder that no-one else was killed or seriously injured as a result of his reckless actions.”