Dangerous Derbyshire drink-driver went the wrong way up a dual carriageway after a crash

A dangerous drink-driver who went the wrong way on a dual-carriageway after a crash has been told he will miss his pre-booked 21st birthday holiday.

Thursday, 7th March 2019, 1:54 pm
Updated Thursday, 7th March 2019, 1:58 pm

Derby Crown Court heard on Wednesday, March 6, how Derek Okelo, 20, was spotted going the wrong way up the A38 southbound carriageway in the Ripley area by a plain-clothed police officer in an unmarked vehicle.

Prosecuting barrister Noel Philo said: “A Detective Constable was driving in plain-clothing in an unmarked police vehicle about 6.30am, on the A38, southbound towards Derby, in the Ripley area.”

He added the officer was approaching the Coxbench junction when she saw the headlights of a car driving towards her while she was travelling correctly on the southbound carriageway.

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Pictured is Derby Crown Court.

Okelo suddenly did a three-point turn, according to Mr Philo, and travelled southbound back towards Derby but the officer followed the defendant and requested a marked vehicle to stop him.

The defendant’s blue Suzuki travelled towards Little Eaton roundabout from the nearside to the offside lanes, according to Mr Philo, and the officer thought he must be drunk.

Mr Philo said Okelo was driving with a completely deflated nearside tyre which made controlling the vehicle difficult as it reached speeds between 30mph and 60mph.

Okelo took a sliproad to Alfreton Road and travelled back to the Little Eaton roundabout to the A38 southbound carriageway, according to Mr Philo, and he approached the Markeaton roundabout.

The officer said Okelo swerved aggressively to take the Ashbourne Road and nearly collided with another vehicle with its nearside tyre blown out and on its rim.

She stated that she decided to box Okelo in as he approached roadwork traffic lights.

Okelo, of Lyttelton Street, Derby, registered 72 microgrammes of alcohol in 100 millilitres of breath when the legal limit is 35 microgrammes.

He pleaded guilty to exceeding the alcohol drink-driving limit and admitted dangerous driving after the incident on January 20.

Defence barrister Dan Church stressed the incident had not involved a police chase and there was no effort by Okelo to flee the scene.

He added: “This is a case of a young man in an act of stupidity who drove within a few hours of a night-out and was driving to his home address.”

Mr Church said there had been a puncture which had caused his vehicle to spin into a barrier and he ended-up pointing and driving the wrong way on the A38 because he had become disorientated.

Okelo, who is a university student, told police he was sorry and Mr Church said he is a remorseful young man.

Judge Nirmal Shant QC described the offending as dangerous driving over a sustained period which merited custody.

However, Judge Shant QC took into account the defendant’s age, his remorse and the impact of custody on his studies before she agreed to impose a 12 month custodial sentence suspended for two years.

Okelo was also placed under a three-month curfew which means he will not be able to go on a pre-booked holiday to mark his 21st birthday this month.

The defendant was disqualified from driving for 17 months and must complete 75 hours of unpaid work and pay £340 costs.

Judge Shant QC said: “He has come close to losing his liberty and part and parcel of his punishment is that he will lose a pre-booked holiday for his birthday.”