by Keith Hunt
A driver had a miraculous escape when he leapt out of his car on a motorway at 70mph, a court heard.
Astonished witnesses saw Daniel Irwin bale out of his Fiat Punto and go “cartwheeling” along the carriageway.
The 23-year-old father, of Nearon Broadway, Minster, was left covered in blood and with his clothes in tatters - but suffered no broken bones.
Irwin later claimed he could remember nothing of the terrifying incident, but his lawyer said it was “a genuine attempt to commit suicide”.
A judge described his actions as “completely and utterly self-centred and anti-social”.
Maidstone Crown Court heard he was upset after visiting his ex-girlfriend and child in Northfleet, on June 19 last year.
Martin Yale, prosecuting, said another driver, Simon Masters, was about three car lengths behind Irwin on the M2 between Maidstone and Gillingham.
“All of a sudden, the driver of the Punto got out while it was travelling at 70mph,” he said. “It is not clear whether he opened the door or got out of the window.
“The car carried on and crashed into the central reservation before going across three lanes of the carriageway and coming back to rest on the central reservation.
“It travelled about an eighth of a mile. The defendant cartwheeled along the carriageway from side to side.
“Mr Masters applied his brakes and swerved into the middle lane. He was able to avoid the defendant, who was still tumbling along in the outside lane.
“He came to a stop in the outside lane. He appeared to be motionless.”
A couple stopped their car and went over to Irwin. He was moaning and in pain. His shoes were 15 metres away. The car was on fire.
Irwin told the couple: “I can’t even kill myself.”
“His clothing was ripped,” said the prosecutor. “He had blood coming from the back of his head. There were deep grazes to his legs, arms, feet and hands.
“A witness described blood coming from everywhere and the skin had peeled off his fingers and toes.”
The motorway was closed for three hours, causing severe disruption.
Irwin was taken to the Royal London Hospital.
He was ordered to do 200 hours unpaid work and banned from driving for 18 months after admitting dangerous driving.