Drink-driver jailed after leading police on 124mph chase before head-on crash

Rebecca Speare-Cole
·3-min read
Leon Karaloucas's car after the crash in East Sussex. (SWNS)
Leon Karaloucas's car after the crash in East Sussex. (SWNS)

A drink-driver has been jailed after leading police on a 124mph chase before crashing head-on into another car.  

Leon Karaloucas, 34, left another motorist seriously injured when he crashed his white SEAT Leon Cupra after overtaking a car on a blind bend in Sussex on 24 September 2019.

The 69-year-old woman who was injured is still receiving treatment 19 months later. 

Karaloucas was jailed on Tuesday for three years for dangerous driving, causing serious injury by dangerous driving and drink driving after pleading guilty at Lewes Crown Court.

Read: Man jailed after trying to kill ex-girlfriend by running her over three times

The chase began when Karaloucas overtook an unmarked police vehicle travelling northbound on the A26 towards Beddingham at around 8pm. 

The officers switched on their flashing blue lights and signalled the driver to stop. 

But he ignored them and the chase ensued with the officers following Karaloucas through Lewes towards Ringmer.

Karaculoucas eventually pulled over onto the pavement but when police got out of their car, he sped off again. 

Police reached speeds of 124mph as they attempted to catch up with the car, the court heard.

They eventually lost sight of Karaloucas, however, and the pursuit was aborted.

The pensioner's car after Leon Karaloucas crashed in East Sussex. (SWNS)
The pensioner's car after Leon Karaloucas crashed in East Sussex. (SWNS)

Minutes later and less than half a mile from where police called off the chase, a crash was reported involving the speeding vehicle and a BMW 116.

Investigations revealed that Karaloucas had overtaken another vehicle on the approach to a left-hand bend - contravening a double solid white line.

He then crashed head-on into the BMW, causing extensive damage to both cars.

Karaloucas was pulled from the wreckage of his car by a local resident, before being taken to hospital for treatment.

The BMW driver, a 68-year-old local woman, sustained multiple fractures and was also taken to hospital.

Watch: Teenager hit 180mph as he led police on half-hour motorbike chase

Karaloucas had 111mg of alcohol per 100ml of blood in his system - far above the legal limit of 80mg.

He was jailed for three years, was disqualified from driving for five years and 10 months and must take an extended retest should he wish to drive again.

Investigating officer, PC Richard Brand, of the Sussex Roads Policing Unit, said: “Driving in a dangerous or careless manner on the roads of Sussex will not be accepted.

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"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."

Watch: Father of girl killed by dangerous driver says 'no justice' in current sentencing