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Drunk student crashed into car after driving wrong way down carriageway without headlights

Student Chloe Hardman had more than double the legal limit of alcohol in her system Credit: CPS

A driver who drank five vodkas before getting behind the wheel drove the wrong way down a dual carriageway without headlights and smashed into an oncoming car.

Swansea Crown Court heard Chloe Hardman was helped by the motorist she crashed into - and another driver she narrowly avoided - who got her out of her car and put her in the recovery position.

When police arrived the 20-year-old was slurring her words, unable to stand without help, and had vomit in her hair and on her clothes.

Ms Hardman told officers she thought she was okay to drive after drinking five vodkas – a belief the judge described as "staggering".

Dean Pulling, prosecuting, said the incident happened in the early hours of 26 July in Swansea city centre.

At around 1:30am, psychology student Hardman drove her Volkswagen Fox car down the wrong side of West Way and on the wrong side of the dual carriageway towards the LC leisure centre.

The lights on her car weren't illuminated and the court heard she entered oncoming traffic near the Wind Street junction.

Mr Pulling said James Jones, who was driving his Land Rover westwards along the road, later reported seeing a car without headlights coming "straight at me". He managed to swerve out of the way at the last minute, clipping the kerb as he did so.

Ryan Marvelle was driving a Mercedes A-Class behind him and was hit by Hardman. Both cars suffered "significant" front-end damage.

Mr Jones and Mr Marvelle then went to the aid of Hardman and got her out of her car and put her in the recovery position until the emergency services arrived.

CCTV shows Ms Hardman's car driving the wrong way down a dual carriageway Credit: CPS

She was taken to Swansea Central police station where a breath test showed she had 73mg of alcohol in 100ml of breath. The legal limit is 35. She told officers she had drunk five vodkas but thought she would be under the limit.

Hardman, of Lon Glynfelin, Longford, Neath , admitted driving with excess alcohol and dangerous driving. She has no previous convictions.

Defending John Allchurch said she was a "hardworking young woman" and she could not explain why she had got behind the wheel on this occasion.

Judge Peter Heywood said the psychology student was "clearly an intelligent, hard-working young lady" but it was "staggering" she had thought she could drink five vodkas and still be under the limit.

The judge said the offence crossed the custody threshold, but immediate imprisonment was not appropriate.

Ms Hardman was given four months for drink-driving and eight months for dangerous driving - with both sentences running concurrently suspended for 18 months.

She was also banned from driving for 18 months and must complete 100 hours of unpaid work.