Condition led to A11 crash chaos

PUBLISHED: 07:34 14 June 2006 | UPDATED: 11:00 22 October 2010

Francis Pizey leaving Norwich Magistrates' Court.

Francis Pizey leaving Norwich Magistrates' Court.

An 81-year-old man who caused a series of crashes by driving the wrong way along the A11 was later diagnosed with Alzheimer's Disease.

An 81-year-old man who caused a series of crashes by driving the wrong way along the A11 was later diagnosed with Alzheimer's Disease.

Norwich magistrates heard that Francis Pizey had already handed in his licence after driving down the dual-carriageway between Wymondham and the Mulbarton turn-off.

He was fined £100 and banned from driving for three years. He must take an extended retest if he ever wants to drive again.

Magistrates' chairman Sarah Blount said: "This offence occurred on a dual carriage, going the wrong way, and therefore put other road users in considerable danger and fear.

"However, we have also taken into account that since the incident you have been diagnosed with Alzheimer's."

In addition he had voluntarily surrendered his clean licence and had no previous convictions.

Pizey, of Recreation Road, Toftwood, Dereham, had admitted driving dangerously on the A11 between Wymondham and Mulbarton on March 1.

Prosecutor Yvonne Neill said Pizey, who was driving a Corsa car, went the correct way round a roundabout before getting on to the A11 at Wymondham. But then he drove past two no entry signs and on to the main road in the wrong direction.

He waited for the traffic to clear before heading the wrong way along the dual carriageway and travelling for two and a half miles at speeds of up to 60mph.

"During that time five other vehicles travelling on the A11 in the correct direction had to swerve to avoid Mr Pizey in his car.

"I think it is fair to say, having read the statement, that they were quite stunned and shocked to see a vehicle coming towards them and in order to avoid Mr Pizey they ended up swerving into the crash barriers.

"All five vehicles were damaged but, thank goodness, they (the occupants) all had only minor injuries.

"The defendant continued travelling the wrong way along the A11 and eventually struck an oncoming vehicle."

The driver of that car, which was damaged, also suffered minor injuries.

Pizey was taken to hospital where he was diagnosed as possibly suffering from Alzheimer's Disease. There was a recommendation that he should not drive again and he had surrendered his licence. It had been decided to prosecute Pizey despite his age and illness to protect the public and keep him off the roads.

What happened that day had been "potentially fatal."

Ted Bell, for Pizey said after decades of driving, the offence was his first.

"It seems what happened was as a result of the deterioration in his condition."

Pizey, who had very little recollection of what happened, lived with his wife on a state pension.

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