A hero mum who followed a drink driver, took his keys and alerted police said today: “He would have hit someone.”
Catherine Leyland, aged 32, was driving with her 13-year-old daughter to visit family on a Saturday at about 6pm when she saw the car driving erratically.
“He was driving about 15mph and there was a queue of cars behind us,” Catherine said.
“At one point I thought he was going to go straight into a bridge. He didn’t seem to be able to turn at all.
“He was leaning over, slumped into the middle of the car.
“I thought there was something wrong, the way he looked when he was sat in the car, I thought he had had some sort of fit or stroke.”
Catherine then followed the man through Wombwell, Barnsley, for about 15 minutes before the man missed a junction and began to reverse back up the road.
She added: “I think in the time I was behind him, only about two or three cars passed us on the other side of the road.
“But if it had been any more, he definitely would have hit someone. He was all over.
“My daughter was holding her hands in front of her face, and said ‘I can’t watch’ because he was on the other side of the road.
“He had just overshot the junction. He stopped and then he started reversing back so I think he was trying to go up that road. I managed to pull up and get him to stop the car.
“There was a lady that stopped as well. As soon as he opened the window I could tell he had had a drink.
“Straight away the other woman phoned the police. I got the keys off him, he was saying ‘I’m okay, I’m okay’.”
The two women waited with him for about 15 minutes before the police arrived and the man was arrested on the spot.
Catherine, of Oak Road, Thurnscoe, Rotherham, was sent a letter of thanks by South Yorkshire Police for her quick thinking.
She added: “It was nice of the police to acknowledge it.
“I’m glad I did it – it was a spur of the moment thing. But when I think back, you think about all the things that could have happened.”
The man, Mieczyslaw Kowleski, aged 64, of Woodfield Close, Darfield, was arrested on the scene.
He appeared at Barnsley Magistrates’ Court on May 1 and pleaded guilty to drink driving.
Kowleski was banned from driving for three years, given a curfew and ordered to pay £85 costs and £60 victim surcharge.