A 76-year-old man who drove almost five miles up the wrong side of a busy dualcarriageway has been convicted of dangerous driving.Edward Burman caused two crashes and multiple motorists were forced to veer out of his path while Northumbria Police received numerous calls from worried witnesses.Newcastle Crown Court heard Burman, a retired cabbie and bus driver, had taken a wrong turn, realised he was about to go through the Tyne Tunnel and cross the river to South Tyneside, so turned back and ended up "where he couldn't get off the road".Prosecutor Shada Mellor told the court the A19 was "moderately busy" when Burman drove the wrong way at "not what can be considered slow speed" in his blue Corsa on June 17 last year.It's thought that while out shopping for a relative who he was assisting during the pandemic, he became lost and confused.The court heard Burman had realised he was heading to the toll booths and into the Tyne Tunnel and turned onto an unfamiliar road then became lost.Miss Mellor added: "He turned his vehicle around before the toll station and proceeded to drive on the wrong side of the A19 carriageway for 4.6 miles."He narrowly avoided several collisions however there were two crashes. In both there were children present in the cars."The court heard one car, being driven by a mum with her five-year-old child in the passenger seat, was forced to brake suddenly to avoid Burman's car, which caused her to swerve and crash into a road sign. She and her child suffered minor injuries.A second motorist, a granddad with his two-year-old granddaughter in the car, collided with Burman's car. Both were taken to hospital, where it was confirmed the granddad hassuffered minor injuries but the child was unhurt.
Burman, of Wilton Drive, Monkseaton, North Tyneside, admitted dangerous driving.Mr Recorder Nicholas Lumley QC sentenced him to four months imprisonment,suspended for 12 months with a three month night time curfew which is electronically tagged.Burman was banned from the roads for two years and must sit an extended test before he can drive again.He was ordered to pay a £1,000 fine and £250 costs.The judge said Burman's driving was "bizarre and dangerous."
Vic Laffey, defending, said Burman has suffered two heart attacks in the past and has vowed never to drive again.