Simon Lau was witnessed driving a red Renault Clio erratically on the A259 Goring Way, Worthing, about 9.15pm on 29 December, police said.
He was followed at a safe distance by the officer, who then saw him mount a kerb, causing a tyre to burst, before coming to a stop in nearby Mulberry Lane, Goring, according to a police spokesman.
When asked if he had consumed any alcohol, Lau replied “no”, police said.
However, after failing a roadside breath test, police said he was found to be more than three times the drink-drive limit. He also had no insurance.
The 41-year-old, of Squadron Drive, Durrington, was subsequently charged with driving with 106mcg of alcohol per 100ml of breath in his system and driving with no insurance, police said. The legal limit is 35mcg.
At Worthing Magistrates’ Court on 15 January, he was disqualified from driving for 24 months and sentenced to a 12-month community order, requiring him to carry out 120 hours of unpaid work. He was also ordered to pay £85 costs and a £85 victim surcharge, police added.
The off-duty officer, who did not wish to be named, was a passenger in a car when he spotted the Clio. He said: “My wife was shocked, as she’s never witnessed that sort of driving before. The manner he was driving in, he could easily have killed himself or someone else.
“When he stopped, I felt I had to step out and detain him – although I was off-duty, it was the ideal opportunity to stop him before something worse happened.”
Lau was arrested as part of Surrey and Sussex Police’s Christmas crackdown on drink and drug-drivers, which ran from 1 December 2018 to 1 January 2019.