May 22 2013 Latest news:
Saturday, March 9, 2013
A JUDGE has told a drug-driver it was a miracle someone was not killed as he weaved across the A12 for seven miles before a head-on crash.
Schizophrenic Steven Gittins, of Maltings Close, Halesworth, was jailed for 12 months and banned from the road for five years after admitting dangerous driving at Ipswich Crown Court.
The 45-year-old’s driving alarmed motorists so much that one woman overtook his car, flashed her headlights and put on her warning lights to alert oncoming traffic. A couple following Gittins’ Citroen Saxo in their vehicle put their hazard lights on.
Gittins – who had a high level of the drug GHB in his system - also ignored a police car which was trying to get him to pull over.
In a statement to police one witness said: “He could have quite easily killed someone who was completely innocent by his driving.”
Another told officers: “In my entire driving history I have never seen worse driving.”
A third said: “I was holding my breath every time I saw oncoming vehicles in fear of a collision.”
Prosecutor Patricia Doggett said Gittins was seen driving erratically at 15mph-30mph along the B1123 towards the A12 near Blythburgh.
As he positioned the car at the A12 junction as if to turn left towards Lowestoft, a couple tried to pull alongside him in their vehicle.
However, he appeared oblivious and turned right on to the A12.
Police were called after he was seen clipping the central reservation.
The court was told he continued along the A12 driving at 10mph-40mph swerving, and hitting and mounting kerbs repeatedly.
Despite the efforts to stop him and various near misses, Gittins continued until he had a head-on crash with a Ford Focus near Darsham.
Miss Doggett said the entire incident spanned seven-and-a-half miles and lasted for 18 minutes.
Both the Citroen and Ford were write-offs.
Judge Rupert Overbury told Gittins, who was disqualified from driving for 16 months in 2004 for drink-driving: “Looking at the photographs it is a miracle no-one was killed. By some miracle after a head-on collision you walked away with scratches. The other driver walks away with whiplash.
“Before you drove you took a form of drug that had almost got to a level of extreme danger for your body.”
Ita Farrelly, mitigating, said Gittins took the drug to help cope with his anxiety.
Judge Overbury declined the option of giving him a suspended sentence, as he said he had a duty to protect the public from those who “willingly take drugs and then drive and cause accidents on our roads”.