A “LUNATIC drink-driver” who survived a horrific crash fled the scene by stealing the car of a woman who had stopped to help him.

The thief then used the Good Samaritan’s bank cards at shops.

Victim Sian Jayasekera has told of the “horrific” moment she witnessed the male driver smash into the central reservation on the M61 near Bolton on Friday morning.

The vehicle then careened across the carriageway, hit two trees, and rolled down an embankment.

Miss Jayasekera, aged 22 from Ramsbottom, was driving to work at the time and had to make an emergency stop to avoid colliding with the car.

Chorley Citizen:

Sian Jayasekera

She said: “He must have been going at 100mph. He was weaving in and out of traffic, moving between the central lane and fast lane. I did not want to be anywhere near this lunatic so I slowed down.

“But he must have misjudged it. He left it too late, hit the central reservation and span across the motorway.

"It looked like the car flew two feet in the air. It hit two trees, rolled all the way down the embankment and flipped onto its roof. The car behind me somehow avoided being hit.”

Miss Jayasekera and the motorist behind her ran down the embankment to check on the driver.

“We didn’t think we were going to find anyone alive because it was so horrific”, Miss Jayasekera said.

The registered first-aider, who works at the Diabetes Centre in Manchester, was preparing to conduct CPR.

“The car was on its roof and smoke was coming off it”, she said. “The windows were smashed and all the glass had shattered.

"It was a while before we realised the car was empty. We thought he must have been thrown out of the window so we began running around looking for his body, when all of a sudden a woman came up to ask if either of us owned a red Volkswagen.”

The driver, who was suspected to be under the influence, had fled the scene in Miss Jayasekera’s vehicle, with registration BF59 NPA. The car is of sentimental value because it was owned by her late grandfather.

Highways England attended the incident on the southbound carriageway, near to Junction 5 for Bolton and Westhoughton, at about 6.30am on Friday.

A spokesman said: “The incident did not cause any delays. Our traffic officers attended shortly after 7am where a vehicle was on its roof in a field opposite the carriageway.

“We requested the police attend the scene, at which point it became a police-led investigation.”

“After causing one of most horrific crashes I’d ever seen, the guy got up, covered in blood, told someone he was drunk and then drove off in my car,” Miss Jayasekera said.

The driver, a white male believed to be in his mid-30s, is described as 5ft 10ins tall, bald and skinny, with cuts on his head and arms.

Miss Jayasekera’s laptop, phone, bank cards, house keys and other possessions were stolen in the vehicle.

When she went to cancel her bank cards, the Lancaster University student was told they had been used for transactions at the Premier Cross Lane convenience store and at Texaco garage in Radcliffe. The family has had to change the locks on their home.

Chorley Citizen:

Greater Manchester Police have confirmed they are investigating.

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A police spokeswoman said: "Shortly before 7.15am on Friday, August 16, police received a report that a woman had her car stolen close to Junction 5 on the M61.

"It is believed the woman stopped to help the driver of a Vauxhall Meriva who was involved in a collision.

"The driver of the Meriva subsequently drove off in the woman’s red VW Golf which contained personal belongings including her mobile phone, laptop and bank cards.

"An investigation has been launched and enquiries are ongoing to trace the driver and the vehicle."

Anyone with any information should call police on 0161 856 5599. Alternatively call Crimestoppers, anonymously, on 0800 555 111.