Driver sentenced for driving wrong way along Chichester A27

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A DRINK-DRIVING student who went the wrong way down the A27 from Chichester has avoided jail.

Alexander Aston, 22, of Red Deer Close, Horsham, was given a 12-week suspended prison sentence and disqualified from driving at Worthing Magistrates’ Court today (September 16).

He pleaded guilty to dangerous driving and drink driving.

The court heard Aston drove west along the A27 from the Fishbourne roundabout towards Portsmouth in the wrong carriageway earlier this year.

He was arrested just after midnight on Saturday, June 7, having earlier left the first of Goodwood racecourse’s Three Friday Nights.

Prosecuting counsel Gaynor Byng said Aston stopped his car near the new BP petrol garage at Emsworth, leaving his Volkswagen Polo in the wrong carriageway at the crash barrier.

Police described the stretch of road Aston drove down as ‘particularly unlit’.

When they arrived at the scene, following several calls from the public, police found the car unoccupied.

Aston was standing on the verge near the garage and told officers: “I’m sorry, I’ve had too much. I’m sorry.”

He was described as ‘unsteady on his feet’, admitting he had had too much to drink.

He told police he had been at Goodwood races that evening, drinking three pints of beers and three glasses of wine with a meal.

A breathalyser test detected 83 microgrammes of alcohol in 100 millilitres of breath.

The court heard Aston was a student in his third year of a four-year course at university and was currently on a work placement.

He was described in court by his defence counsel Tanya Price-Hafslund, of Geoff White Solicitors, as ‘shocked by his actions’.

“He says when he realised he was on the wrong carriageway when he saw cars passing him, he decided to pull over on what he thought was the hard shoulder,” she said.

Magistrates gave Aston a 12-week prison sentence but suspended it for a year.

He also received a 12-month community order to carry out 150 hours of unpaid work, as well as a 21-month driving disqualification, after which he will have to take an extended retest.

He was also ordered to pay court costs of £165.