1. ITV Report

Drunken motorist who drove the wrong way on a dual-carriageway is jailed

A drunken motorist who drove several miles the wrong way along a dual-carriageway in Suffolk has been jailed for 16 months.

Other motorists had to swerve to avoid Remigijus Katinas' Volvo car as it was driven at 80 miles an hour along the A14 near Ipswich.

The 47-year-old from Thetford had earlier pleaded guilty to dangerous driving and failing to provide a speciman for analysis.

He had previous speeding offences in his native Lithuania.

Remigijus Katinas, of Mingay Road, Thetford. Credit: Suffolk police

“The vehicle approaching had its full beam lights on and it took me a moment to work out which lane it was in and therefore what evasive action I should take. In the seconds I had to respond, I remember steering to the left ensuring I was as close to the nearside verge as possible. Fortunately the vehicle passed me on the offside, travelling in the fast lane. I estimated that it was travelling in excess of 80mph. Whilst I am an experienced driver and have been a police officer for many years, the incident left me somewhat shaken – it was a very near miss.”

– Det Insp Gooding, advanced police driver

Prosecuting barrister Richard Kelly said the police were alerted when Katinas was seen driving westbound on the eastbound carriageway in the early hours of Boxing Day.

One of those who witnessed his driving was off-duty-police officer.

Responding to calls, a police car was positioned on the eastbound carriageway near Haughley to try and detain him.

Seeing that two of his tyres were torn and flat, they used their vehicle to stop his, causing some damage to theirs. It emerged his tyres were damaged by earlier hitting a fence after leaving a pub..

The two officers had to help Katinas out his car because he was so intoxicated he couldn't support his own body weight.

Mr Kelly said he refused to provide a specimen for analysis but a breath test five hours after the incident revealed he was still three times above the drink drive limit.

Defence counsel Kelly Fernandez-Lee said Katinas had had an argument with his partner and described the offences as totally out of character.

Sentencing him at Ipswich Crown Court, Judge John Devaux, said it was a miracle no other road user was killed or seriously injured and he commended the police officers for risking their own safety by bringing Katinas' car to a halt.

He banned him from driving for 2 years 8 months.

"Remigijus Katinas showed total disregard for the lives of other people the moment he got behind the wheel of a car on that night. His actions were completely reckless and it is extremely fortunate that no-one was seriously injured or killed as a result. He wasn’t even able to stand up when the officers got him out of the vehicle, so how on earth he thought he was capable of driving a car defies belief."

– Inspector Gary Miller, Roads and Armed Policing Team