Broadbridge Heath drink-driver in Christmas Day crash

A drink-driver who caused this Christmas Day crash was found pretending to be asleep nearby.

Sussex Police say that the collision involved a green Skoda Citigo, which was struck from behind on the A24 close to Buck Barn services, Horsham.

Photos from the scene from Sussex Police

Photos from the scene from Sussex Police

Police were called to the incident about 12.30am on Christmas Day and found a red Ford Transit van parked up in a layby some 600m away.

It had damage to the front nearside which was consistent with being in collision with the rear offside of the Skoda.

The sole occupant of the van was identified as Steven Stewart, a drain cleaner, of Kingsmead Place, Broadbridge Heath.

He was found lying across the front seats of the vehicle and pretending to be asleep.

When asked how he got there, he claimed he parked up five hours previously.

However, the engine and the tyres were warm, suggesting the vehicle had been driven very recently.

The 26-year-old failed a roadside breath test and on his way to custody he eventually admitted to having had “loads to drink”.

Stewart was subsequently arrested and charged with driving with 76mcg of alcohol per 100ml of breath, and failing to stop after being involved in a road traffic collision.

At Worthing Magistrates’ Court on February 20, he was disqualified from driving for 20 months and sentenced to a 12-month community order, requiring him to carry out 200 hours of unpaid work. He was also ordered to pay £331.55 compensation, £200 costs and a £85 victim surcharge.

Stewart was among 240 motorists arrested in Sussex as part of Surrey and Sussex Police’s Christmas crackdown on drink and drug-drivers, which ran from December 1 2018 to January 1 2019.

Of these, a total of 87 have so far been convicted.

The remaining have either been charged, released under investigation or released without charge.