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Former Albion player drives wrong way up A23 to avoid blizzard standstill
A former Brighton and Hove Albion footballer drove for miles the wrong way down the A23 after getting stuck in heavy traffic during a blizzard.
Ex-professional footballer Kane Louis set off in his Smart car from Brighton at about 6pm on March 11, Lewes Crown Court was told yesterday.
But unexpectedly heavy snow hit and Louis, along with thousands of other motorists, was stuck in heavy traffic.
While they waited it out in the vehicles – some for up to 12 hours – Louis decided to turn around and go home.
Horrified motorists frantically called 999 after seeing a vehicle travelling the wrong way for miles along the major route connecting Brighton and London.
Around midnight on March 12 at Bolney, near Haywards Heath, Louis’s car’s heater began to “pack up” and he decided to turn around, Gail Purdy, prosecuting, said.
Horrified witnesses described Louis, who coaches Shoreham FC, travelling southbound in the northbound carriageway.
Police pursued him in their vehicles – skidding on the icy road, Miss Purdy explained.
When the 23-year-old was stopped near Patcham, Brighton, he said he did not want to get out of his car because it was cold.
Being sentenced for one count of dangerous driving which he admitted, Miss Purdy said: “There was a sudden and prolonged period of snow particularly on the A23 which affected a number of people.
“At 1.10am police received a number of reports of a small vehicle travelling the wrong way along the A23.
“They started a search for the car.
“It was spotted just past Pyecombe travelling in a southbound direction on the northbound carriageway.
“It had its hazard lights on. Police travelled alongside the vehicle and it did not slow down.
“At Mill Lane roundabout it stopped. He said he had got as far as Bolney and got stuck and turned around.
“He accepted it was the wrong thing to do but he ‘just wanted to get back’.
“There’s no challenging that he was marooned in his vehicle on the A32.”
Martha Walsh, defending, appealed for Judge Anthony Scott-Gall not to see him as a “reckless young man who took a brazen decision.”
Judge Scott-Gall banned Louis, of Braeside Avenue, Brighton, from driving for 18 months, ordered him to take an extended driving test, pay £60 and carry out 150 hours of unpaid work.
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