Stay up to date with notifications from The Independent

Notifications can be managed in browser preferences.

Grandmother on 10-minute trip accidentally drives 300 miles to Scotland after taking wrong turn

Valerie Johnson's daughter said her mother 'hates driving' and 'doesn't usually drive more than three miles'

Rachael Revesz
Tuesday 16 May 2017 11:14 BST
Ms Johnson was looked after by couple in Larkhall while daughter got on a plane to pick her up
Ms Johnson was looked after by couple in Larkhall while daughter got on a plane to pick her up (Google Maps)

An 83-year-old grandmother worried her family and was alerted to police after she mistakenly drove for 300 miles to Scotland instead of six miles to her local hospital appointment.

Valerie Johnson was driving to Peopleton’s Royal Hospital in Worcester, just six miles from her home, when roadworks diverted her and she drove for eight hours.

She ended up in Larkhall, Scotland, when she ran out of fuel.

By that point her daughter, 49-year-old Karen Maskell, had called police, worried by her mother’s absence, and had to get a flight to Scotland to pick her up.

Ms Johnson had missed a turn-off near Worcester and had continued north on the M5 and M6 until she had crossed the border.

Her family reported her as missing on 5 May.

The Scottish Daily Record reported that a couple looked after her while they waited for her daughter.

"Mum's next-door neighbour called me to say she hadn't come back and he was worried. I thought she must have had an accident," said Ms Maskell.

"We called the police and by the time I got to her house, they said they had spotted her car on a traffic camera at Preston at 11pm.

"I said it couldn't be my mum because she hates driving, she doesn't usually drive more than three miles.

"But it was her and she was still heading north and we had to get the Scottish police involved."

Grandmother fights off four thieves at cash machine

Police in Larkhall said the couple who looked after Ms Johnson had noticed that her car had stopped in the middle of the road outside their house.

She told them she was lost, so they phoned the police who coordinated with West Mercia Police to inform Ms Johnson's family.

An ambulance was called to check she did not need any medical attention.

"The local couple very kindly looked after the woman, ensuring that she was comfortable until her relatives arrived from England to collect her," said Sergeant John McLeish.

Thank you for registering

Please refresh the page or navigate to another page on the site to be automatically logged inPlease refresh your browser to be logged in