Drink-driver leads police on 124mph chase through Sussex

A drink-driver who caused a head-on collision after leading police on a pursuit through East Sussex has been jailed.

Police in an unmarked vehicle were travelling northbound on the A26 towards Beddingham around 8pm on 24 September 2019 when they were overtaken by a white Seat Leon Cupra.

They immediately illuminated their lights and signalled for the driver to stop, but he failed to do so.

The pursuit continued through Lewes towards Ringmer, where the driver eventually pulled over onto the pavement.

As officers pulled up behind and were getting out of their vehicle, the Seat accelerated away.

Police reached speeds of 124mph as they attempted to catch up with the car, but it was out of sight and the pursuit was aborted as it was considered too dangerous.

Just minutes later and less than half a mile from where police called it off, a crash was reported involving the speeding vehicle and a BMW 116.

Investigations revealed the driver had overtaken another vehicle on approach to a left-hand bend – contravening a double solid white line – and crashed head-on into the BMW, causing extensive damage to both.

The Seat driver was identified as Leon Karaloucas, 34, of East Street, Maidstone, Kent. He was pulled from his car by a local resident and taken to hospital for treatment.

The BMW driver – a 68-year-old local woman – sustained multiple fractures and was also taken to hospital.

There, Karaloucas provided a sample of blood for analysis which revealed he had 111mg of alcohol per 100ml of blood in his system. The legal limit is 80mg.

He was subsequently summonsed to court to face charges of dangerous driving; causing serious injury by dangerous driving; and drink-driving.

He pleaded guilty to all three offences, and at Lewes Crown Court on 20 April, he was sentenced to three years and eight months’ imprisonment. He was also disqualified from driving for five years and 10 months, and must take an extended re-test should he wish to drive again.

On 24 September 2019, Karaloucas failed to stop for police and drove in a dangerous manner and exceeded speeds of 100mph in a 60mph speed limit. Police called off the pursuit, however Karaloucas continued to drive in a dangerous manner and was involved in a serious collision with a member of public’s vehicle, causing extensive damage and serious injuries to the female driver. In court, he was sentenced for the offences of causing serious injury by dangerous driving, dangerous driving, and driving a motor vehicle when alcohol level above the legal limit.

PC Richard Brand