Drink driver followed satnav into oncoming traffic on A47

Duane Norman was arrested on the A47 near Hopton. Picture: Archant library.

Duane Norman was arrested on the A47 near Hopton. Picture: Archant library. - Credit: Copyright: Archant 2015

A drink driver suffering short-term memory loss drove his Jaguar the wrong way down the A47 after following a satnav, a court has heard.

Duane Norman, of Forknell Avenue in Coventry, had visited Great Yarmouth for the first time to see his partner, but ended up sleeping in his car after an argument during a night out, Great Yarmouth Magistrates' Court heard on Wednesday.

When the 43-year-old woke up at 9.50pm, he began a panicked search for his dog, which he left with his parents, and ended up following his satnav onto the wrong side of the carriageway.

Norman appeared at court on Wednesday where he pleaded guilty to drink driving and driving without due care and attention.

Stacie Cossey, prosecuting, said: 'Two paramedics saw him driving towards them on the wrong side of the wrong, so they put their blue lights on and moved into the middle of the two lanes to try and stop others driving into him.

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'He told police he had two or three drinks and thought he was okay to drive.'

The court heard how the road had recently been tarmacked and had no markings when the incident occurred on September 22 at Hopton.

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Norman had 43 microgrammes of alcohol in 100ml of breath, above the legal limit of 35 microgrammes.

Christopher Bentley, defending, said: 'As far as he knew he was on a normal two-lane carriageway with cars coming in the other direction. When he saw the ambulance he thought there had been an accident, and did not realise until he saw other cars flashing their lights at him.

'He had never been to Suffolk before and came to see his partner who had recently moved to the area.

'They went and had some drinks but ended up having an argument so he went to go home to her house. He could not get in so ended up sleeping in his car. In 1989 he had a head injury that left him with short-term memory loss and when he woke up he did not know where his dog was so started driving to look for it.'

Norman was disqualified from driving for 12 months and fined £240 for the drink driving offence and £100 for careless driving.

Magistrates' also ordered him to pay court costs of £85 and a £30 victim surcharge.

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