Dog finds Selsey drink-driver who fled from telephone pole crash

The car was left in a bad state after the collision. Inset: PD Vinnie. Pictures: Sussex Police
The car was left in a bad state after the collision. Inset: PD Vinnie. Pictures: Sussex Police

This mangled wreck was the result of a motorist being almost twice the drink-drive limit.

Gareth Hemingway was behind the wheel of the Renault Scenic when it collided with a tree and a telegraph pole on the A286 at Singleton, near Chichester, about 2.30am on Monday 22 January.

When police found him with a female passenger at a bus stop about a quarter of a mile away from the scene , he initially denied being responsible, police say.

But he later admitted the offence after German Shepherd Police Dog Vinnie led his handler PC Paul House directly to where the pair had been. They were both uninjured.

PC House said: “I arrived at the scene of the crash and took PD Vinnie to the vehicle, where he could associate himself with any scents.

“I then cast him away from the scene and he almost immediately indicated a track south along the road and verges of the A286.

“He continued to track to a bus stop in the village, approximately a quarter of a mile from the crash scene, but didn’t track any further. Arresting officers confirmed this is where the driver and his passenger were located, and this tracking evidence contributed to the investigation.”

Hemingway, 37, unemployed, of Manor Farm Court, Selsey, was subsequently arrested and charged with driving with 69mcg of alcohol per 100ml of breath in his system.

At Worthing Magistrates’ Court last Tuesday he was disqualified from driving for 20 months.

He was also fined £339, and ordered to pay £85 costs and a £33 victim surcharge.

Arresting officer PC Anthony Williams, of the Chichester Response Unit, said: “Hemingway’s decision to drive while almost twice the legal limit was extremely irresponsible, and it’s a decision he no doubt regrets.

“These images demonstrate the consequences such actions can have, and it’s fortunate neither he nor his passenger were seriously injured.

“While the risks associated with drink or drug-driving are well documented, passengers also have a degree of responsibility, and we would advise them never to travel with a driver they suspect to be under the influence of drink or drugs.”

People in Sussex can text officers on 65999 with the details of people they suspect of drink or drug-driving, or visit the Operation Crackdown website.

Alternatively, you can visit the Crimestoppers website or contact the independent charity anonymously on 0800 555 111.

If you know someone is driving while over the limit or after taking drugs, call 999.