Drink-driver jailed following high speed police chase through Lewes

A 34-year-old man has been jailed after causing a high speed pursuit with police through Lewes which ended in a head-on collision.

Friday, 23rd April 2021, 4:51 pm
Updated Friday, 23rd April 2021, 4:57 pm
Photo by Sussex Police SUS-210423-164457001

According to police, on September 24 2019 at around 8pm police in an unmarked car were overtaken by a white Seat Leon Cupra on the A26 towards Beddingham.

When the officers turned on their lights to signal the Seat to stop, a pursuit occurred when the driver failed to stop, police say.

The driver, now identified as Leon Karaloucas from Maidstone in Kent, eventually pulled over but when officers caught up and got out of their vehicle, the Seat set off again, police say.

According to police, in the pursuit the officers reached speeds of 124mph before it was aborted as it was considered too dangerous to continue. Minutes later a crash was reported involving the Seat and a BMW 116.

Investigations revealed the Seat had overtaken another vehicle when approaching a left-hand bend and crashed head-on into the BMW, causing extensive damage to both vehicles.

Karaloucas was pulled from his car by a local resident and taken to hospital for treatment. Blood samples revealed he was over the alcohol limit, police say.

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

Photo by Sussex Police SUS-210423-164507001

According to police, Karaloucas was 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 April 20, 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.

Investigating officer, PC Richard Brand, of the Sussex Roads Policing Unit, said, “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.

“Driving in a dangerous or careless manner on the roads of Sussex will not be accepted. Karaloucas made his own decision to drink and drive on that night, and his subsequent decision making has now cost him his freedom. Worse still is that another member of public sustained serious injuries as a result of the collision and is still receiving ongoing treatment.

“Excess speed, dangerous/careless driving and drink-driving are three of the five most common causes of fatal and serious injury collisions on our roads. Motorists who commit these types of offences can expect to be dealt with robustly.”