Man who drove for 25km the wrong way on foggy M3 jailed for four months

A 52-year-old Romanian man who drove the wrong way in a van for a distance of 20 to 25 km on the M3 in heavy fog and poor visibility, was sentenced to four months in jail.

Dan Zaharie from Reghinjudetul in Romania was also banned from driving for two years and fined €1,000 for what resident Judge Cormac Dunne said was “at the highest end of dangerous driving. This was madness. I never heard such a case.” He fixed bail for appeal.

The Judge remarked at Trim District Court on Thursday last that at least 100 people, families and children, were put in potential fatal risk, or of maiming or injury on the night of 28th November last.

Gardai in position to bring the terrifying ordeal to a conclusion

Zaharie pleaded guilty to the offence with his solicitor commenting “we only can be very grateful nothing happened.”

Mr Dermot Monahan said that Mr Zaharie shouldn’t have been over here and driving on Irish roads. He had quite no English and “found himself out of his depth.”

Mr Monahan explained that he was unemployed and three days before this incident was contracted with 50 others in Romania to work as drivers for three to four weeks.

They were taken over to Ireland via London and Edinburgh, travelling across to Northern Ireland by ferry. They were given deliveries and sat navs.

WATCH: Footage of the heartstopping incident captured on camera

Garda Sergeant Kevin Moroney outlining the defendant’s driving on the occasion stated that he went to the toll bridge. He had only sterling and turned back. He drove back down the motorway on the wrong side of the road.

He passed two junctions (J6 Dunshaughlin & J7 Skyrne Johnstown)and other motor vehicles had to take evasive action. He travelled a distance of 20 to 25 km.

Gardai stopped the defendant on a third junction (Navan south J8) at 9pm.

Mr Monahan said that his client didn’t know how to communicate. He panicked and turned round and drove back from the booth.

Drivers couldn't believe what they were seeing on the other side of the crash barrier

Judge Dunne was told that traffic in the fast lane was entitled to drive at 120km.

Mr Monahan said the defendant entered a plea of guilty at a very early stage, and had no record of previous convictions.