Man with mad cow disease caused near fatal 80mph crash in Yorkshire

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A MAN who crashed into a taxi as he tried to overtake cars at 80mph admitted to police he had driven 'like a moron'.

A court heard John Hadland's "appalling" piece of driving could have resulted in multiple deaths on a main road in Leeds.

The road where the crash happened

The road where the crash happened

Leeds Crown Court heard Hadland caused the collision outside the Arla Foods depot on Pontefract Road, Stourton, on August 9 last year.

Duncan Ritchie, prosecuting, said Hadland was driving a Suzuki Swift and came up behind as a line of five vehicles which he tried to overtake at 6.30pm.

CCTV footage was played in Leeds Crown Court showing a taxi driver intending to turn right into the factory when Hadland tried to overtake the other vehicles at high speed, which one witness estimated to be at 70-80mph.

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As the taxi driver began the right turn, he pulled into the path of the defendant's vehicle and Hadland struck the front bumper of the taxi.

The defendant lost control of his car and bounced off the offside kerb, missing a factory worker who was walking on the pavement.

Hadland's car came to rest on its roof at the side of the road and he climbed from the wreckage of the car.

He was treated in hospital for minor injuries.

The victim suffered whiplash in his shoulders, back and legs and his car was badly damaged.

The pedestrian was struck by some debris from the collision.

Mr Ritchie added: "It was sheer luck no one was more seriously injured."

Hadland told the police he had been in an argument with his father before the incident and got in his car to drive to his sister's house while he was still upset.

Mr Ritchie said: "He admitted he should not have done that and drove like a 'bloody idiot and a moron'."

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Hadland, who has no previous convictions or endorsements on his licence, pleaded guilty to dangerous driving.

Probation officer Malcolm Brown said the 41-year-old, of Linden Grove, Beeston, has Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease, which is the human variant of mad cow disease.

He said Hadland found out three years ago he had hepatitis C that severely damaged his liver.

The case was adjourned on a previous occasion to obtain more details of his medical history

Sentencing Hadland to eight months' imprisonment, suspended for 12 months, Judge Robin Mairs said: "It is little short of miraculous that no one including yourself died."

Hadland was also banned from driving for 12 months.