M27 crash caused by driver having epileptic seizure at the wheel

COURT Lee Fifield who caused a crash on the M27 near Fareham
COURT Lee Fifield who caused a crash on the M27 near Fareham
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A MAJOR crash on the M27 was caused by a driver who suffered an epileptic seizure at the wheel.

Lee Fifield was driving his wife’s blue Mercedes van when he smashed into several cars on the M27 at Fareham.

Lorry driver Dennis Cham told Portsmouth Crown Court how he pulled over and desperately tried to contact the authorities after seeing the 38-year-old veer across the lanes of the motorway and crash into the central reservation.

As he was on the phone he saw Fifield reverse the van and drive off.

Moments later, after Mr Cham set off again, he came across a scene of devastation.

He said: ‘Off in the distance I could see people running about. It appeared to be an horrific accident.’

Fifield had continued to swerve across the road, narrowly avoiding cars, before ramming into the back of a blue Peugeot and forcing it up the embankment.

The Peugeot then toppled backwards on to its roof and tumbled back down into the road, trapping the driver inside.

Fifield then veered back across the motorway smashing a green Renault and his own van into the central reservation, destroying both vehicles.

Amazingly no-one was seriously hurt in the high speed crash.

John Geden, an off-duty inspector with Hampshire Police, was driving with his family when he witnessed the crash and got out to help free the driver of the Peugeot.

He then went to speak to Fifield who he said was talking ‘complete nonsense’.

Motorist Natasha Berks had to pull over to avoid Fifield’s van.

After the crash she spoke to Fifield.

‘It was horrific,’ she said. ‘He had no clue what had happened or that he had caused it.’

The driver of the Renault, Sally-Anne Thomason, who suffered whiplash, said: ‘I heard the van smash into the car behind, then I was hit and started spinning across the motorway and hit the central reservation.’

Fifield, of Wymering Lane, Wymering, Portsmouth, was arrested following the crash at 9.30am on October 16, last year.

He denied a charge of dangerous driving.

Stephen Smyth, defending, said Fifield had been diagnosed with epilepsy five years ago and had suffered a seizure at the time of the crash.

The court also heard medical evidence that Fifield could have had a fit.

The jury of six men and six women found him not guilty by reason of temporary insanity caused by the seizure.

The ruling means Fifield still has to be sentenced and he is due back in court on January 6.

However the options open to Judge Ian Pearson are limited.

In cases where there is a verdict of not guilty by reason of insanity the judge could order the defendant to be kept in a mental health institute.

But Judge Pearson has already indicated that would not be appropriate in this case.

His other sentencing options include making an order that Fifield has supervision from the probation service for a set period or an absolute discharge.

Fifield is still due to face charges of driving without a licence or insurance at Portsmouth Magistrates’ Court in the new year.