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15th Jul 2021

Mum Snapchats herself hitting M60 at 88mph – has horrific crash

Danny Jones

Mum of three crashes on the M60 while drug driving

The mother walked away with her life while her passenger was injured

A mum of three has been charged after filming herself on Snapchat while driving at 88mph down the M60 and crashing into a barrier last June. She is lucky to have walked away with her life, with her passenger also suffering injuries in the process.

Crystal Ward, 27, was behind the wheel of a VW Golf as she entered the slip road to join the M60 while filming an eight-second video for social media. She has been given a 12-month suspended prison sentence (two years), 15 days of rehabilitation activity requirements; a three-month electronically monitored curfew and a five-year ban which must be followed by a retest.

Crash scene on M60

The footage showed on her dashcam captures her speedometer as well as the loud music playing in the background as she approached the motorway. The video itself cuts out shortly before her partner warns “Babe” as she enters the cross-hatchings and ultimately goes on to crash into the barrier at the speed, throwing her from the driver’s seat and ripping the engine from the car.

While Ward somehow walked away unscathed, her passenger did sustain some injuries. The crash also caused another collision too, as the loose engine block collided with another car in the fourth lane; thankfully, they also walked away safely with the engine only puncturing their tyre.

Loose engine block after M60 crash

Tests taken after the traffic incident showed that Ward was over four times the drug-driving limit for cannabis – eight milligrams of cannabis in 100 millilitres of breath, as opposed to the limit of just two – according to Minshull Street Crown Court’s findings.

Ward pleaded guilty at earlier hearings to drug driving, as well as driving whilst disqualified and without any insurance. She narrowly avoided jail – this being her seventh conviction across nine total offences. Ward was already disqualified from driving until August 2022 at the time for an offence in March 2019 and legally should not have been behind the wheel of a car.

During the hearing on the June 11, Prosecutor Peter Connick described how Ward was driving “using one hand on the steering wheel and the other to hold her mobile phone to record a video” and went on to collide with the “bullnose of the Armco crash barrier”, before sending the car airborne and leaving the passenger trapped inside.

Images of car debris and loose engine block

Paramedics handed an attending officer Ward’s phone at the time, who then discovered the Snapchat footage. Upon further review, it was revealed that Ward has recorded several videos of herself while driving. The Crown ruled that said she had shown a “deliberate disregard for the safety of others”, including her passenger, on multiple occasions.

Representing Ward, Sarah Johnston told the court that her client was thrown from the car, suggesting that she wasn’t wearing a seat belt and subsequently sustained fractures to her spine. She relayed that the 27-year-old “will never get behind the wheel of a car again”, noting that she “could have killed people”.

Johnston went on to state in defence of her client: “There are features of her personal history that suggest she is plainly a vulnerable woman. She is the mother of three children, they are subject to a special guardianship with their paternal grandparents.”

She also noted that despite being hurt in the accident, her passenger and partner “is supportive of the defendant”, with Ward “motivated to put this decision making behind her.”

As she was sentenced to, Recorder Jon Close added: “You are not going to prison today – you should be grateful to your counsel.”