Alleged Christmas drink driver had baby on back seat

A driver stopped by police was allegedly three times over the limit – with his baby on the back seat.

The 32-year-old was arrested on the A23 to the north of Brighton on Christmas Day.

He was just one of a series of motorists who snubbed police warnings not to drink and drive this Christmas. 

Last night police and safety campaigners condemned the offenders for getting behind the wheel while drunk.

Police were called to the A23 after a member of the public saw a black Mercedes at about 8.50pm driving erratically near Pease Pottage.

The car was stopped near the junction with the A2300 at Hickstead with officers describing the man as “stinking of booze”.

They discovered he was travelling with his partner and their baby, putting their lives at risk too. He was arrested and spent Christmas night in the cells while the baby and mother took a taxi for the rest of their journey.

It was later discovered the driver, who lives in Hampshire, was also disqualified from driving.

He was charged with drink driving and driving while banned and was remanded in custody to appear at Brighton Magistrates’ Court today.

Acting Inspector Phil Duffy said: “Drinking and driving is unacceptable behaviour at any time of year.

“In this instance the driver had complete disregard for the danger he presented to him- self, the other occupants of the car and other road users.

“He spent Christmas Day evening and Boxing Day in police custody because of the danger he posed.

“The choice is simple – either drink or drive but never mix the two.”

A spokeswoman for road safety charity Brake said: “It is utterly despicable behaviour to consume so much alcohol and get behind the wheel of a car when even a small amount of alcohol has a significant effect on the ability to drive safely.

“It was a crash waiting to happen. This man has not only put himself in great danger but also his family and other innocent road users.”

Road policing officers have been using social media to inform the public and highlight the dangers of driving over the limit.

PC Dave Quinnan tweeted: “In custody with a drink driver. He says I’m horrible for doing this to him on Christmas Day. I’m afraid he did it all himself.”

Two people were detained on Christmas Eve in Eastbourne for the same offence. Sussex West RPU tweeted, “And that's one more drink driver in. Could barely walk” on Christmas Eve, with another person being arrested on suspicion of drink driving after a crash.

Prior to Christmas, Sussex Police carried out 1,419 road- side breath tests in a high-visibility operation to try to highlight the dangers.

During the campaign, 50 drivers failed breathalyser tests. If you suspect someone of drink driving either call 999, text 65999 or in a non-emergency dial 101.

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