Taxi passenger feared death as oncoming VW driver ‘flew’ the wrong way down road


A dangerous driver drove up a curb, drove the wrong way, crashed into a car and wrongly blamed the driving on another man.

Karl Matthews, 27, has committed a series of offenses while driving his Volkswagen Golf car on a dangerous journey through Flintshire. A police officer could not chase him in a car because he had not undergone pursuit training.

But a Mold Crown Court judge today said he could be rehabilitated and suspended from a 12-month prison sentence for two years.

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Prosecutor Brian Treadwell said Matthews drove dangerously four times with multiple passengers in the car on May 26 last year.

At 5 p.m. that day, witness Barry Roberts was near Greenfield with his wife and 18-month-old daughter.

North Wales Police

He noticed a Ford Focus coming towards his car on the road at 30mph the wrong way and about 60mph. Mr. Roberts had to take evasive action.

Then around 5:10 p.m., another witness saw a Volkswagen Golf driving through the Asda parking lot in Flint. The prosecutor said it was like it was “in a race.”

In a third incident that day, another taxi driver carrying a passenger saw a Volkswagen Golf drive down the wrong side of the road near a Tesco store. The taxi driver had to brake and his passenger “thought she was going to die”.

Finally, another witness saw a VW Golf ‘flying’ past him at over 60mph in Holway Road, Holywell, in a 30mph zone. The VW driver “maneuvered” a Seat car which injured its driver.

The police could not catch the VW driver and he fled.

General view of Caernarfon Crown Court, Caernarfon Justice Centre.  Photo by Ian Cooper

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Later, when written to him as the registered owner, he blamed another man for the dangerous driving. But he eventually admitted driving dangerously, failing to stop after an accident and failing to report an accident, among other traffic offences.

Simon Mintz, defending, said: “This is a very bad example of dangerous driving. He accepts he was at fault and apologizes for his behaviour.”

He said Matthews, of Queens Road, Greenfield, had a troubled background and was attacked by someone with a machete in 2020. He had facial scarring “possibly even visible (from the front of the courtroom) in the dock”.

But the references have shown that he can be “hard working and pleasant”. He suffers from ADHD and anxiety.

The judge, The Recorder John Philpotts, told the defendant there were four incidents of dangerous driving.

He said: “You climbed onto the pavement, you drove at high speed on the wrong side of the road, you endangered pedestrians in a car park, you climbed a median strip, you veered between lanes and you collided with a vehicle in front of you causing pain and discomfort to the driver.”

He also failed to pull over for the police and blamed someone else for the driving.

But he said the defense attorney persuaded him not to send Matthews to jail.

Matthews pleaded guilty to four counts of dangerous driving, failing to stop after an accident, failing to report an accident and driving without insurance.

The judge imposed the conditional jail sentence for each of the four counts of dangerous driving, to run concurrently, and no separate sentence for the other offences. He banned Matthews from driving for two years. He must then pass a new extended test.

The judge also ordered the defendant to undergo a six-month detoxification program, 20 days of rehabilitation activities, six days of emotional resilience classes and 19 retreats.

He must also pay £250 in costs and a victim fine surcharge.

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