Motorist banned for motorway “mistake”

A FORMER American serviceman has been banned for three years after driving the wrong way down the slip road of the A14.

Corey Garcia, of Short Road, Stretham, ended up in a ditch after swerving to avoid a vehicle coming the correct way off the dual carriageway.

The 29-year-old said he “simply made a mistake” after missing the exit on the roundabout for the Shell petrol station at Swavesey.

He later refused to give a breath specimen at Huntingdon Police Station, saying his misjudgement could have been because of alcohol but that he did not feel he was drunk. In an interview he said he had drunk five pints over five or six hours.

Magistrates in Cambridge said the father-of-four, who could lose his job as an engineer at Stagecoach, had an “appalling record” after a previous conviction for drink-driving.

Magistrates’ heard how Garcia was an experienced motorist, commuting daily from his home to Romford in Essex.

However, when he arrived at Cambridge Services at about 10.30pm, he became confused and said it was “not somewhere he was familiar with” and missed the turning for petrol. His actions forced a Vauxhall Astra travelling in the correct direction to brake hard and swerve to avoid him.

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“Fortunately, neither driver was injured and there were no passengers in either vehicle,” said prosecutor Paul Brown.

Tahir Muhmood said in mitigation: “It is not his normal behaviour to drive erratically.”

Magistrates ordered Garcia to complete 80 hours unpaid work for offences of failing to provide a specimen for analysis and driving without due care and attention.

“If you had made it on to the main road, we dread to think what would’ve happened,” chairman of the bench Derek Manning said.

“You have got a severe punishment. Let’s hope we don’t see you before the courts again.”