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Crawley drink-driver almost four times legal limit “felt fine” to drive

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A motorist who caused this crash, while almost four times the drink-drive limit, said he “felt fine to drive”.

Lincoln Simmons was driving a blue Volkswagen Passat on the A23 London Road, Crawley, about 1pm on 2 December when he collided a black Renault Clio.

The impact caused the Clio to mount the roundabout and crash through road signage. The driver – a 53-year-old woman from Haywards Heath – sustained significant bruising.

The Passat failed to stop at the scene and was located a short distance away, near Gatwick Airport.

Simmons failed a roadside breath test, and was subsequently arrested and charged with failing to stop after a road traffic collision, and driving with 139mcg of alcohol per 100ml of breath in his system. The legal limit is 35mcg.

In police interview, he stated he had consumed a litre of vodka the previous evening and a small bottle of whiskey prior to the crash, but claimed he is “used to drinking” so it “takes a lot of alcohol to feel the effects”.

The 48-year-old, who is unemployed, of Galahad Road, Crawley, pleaded guilty to both offences and was disqualified from driving for 32 months when he appeared before Crawley Magistrates’ Court on 11 February.

He was also given a 12-month community order requiring him to carry out 200 hours of unpaid work, and must pay £85 costs and a £95 victim surcharge.

Chief Inspector Michael Hodder, of the Surrey and Sussex Roads Policing Unit, said:

“One of the most common excuses we hear from drink-drivers is that they “felt fine” to drive. But even a small amount of alcohol has the ability to impair your judgement and reaction time.

“Feeling fine is not a good judgement of your ability to drive. If you drink and drive you are committing an offence which carries with it a risk of serious injury or death to yourself or someone else.

 “The bottom line is there is no excuse to drive under the influence of drink or drugs.

“Our priority is to keep everyone safe on our roads, and we will continue to crack down on anyone who compromises this.”

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‘Please come forward with information no matter how small’ Police appeal as E-Fit of attempted rape suspect released

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Police have released an E-fit image of a man sought in connection with the attempted rape of a 17-year-old girl in Crawley.

Between 7pm and 7.15pm on Tuesday (March 9), the teenager was walking her dog along the pathway from Overdene Drive towards the tunnel that runs underneath the A23 and follows on to Quantock Close.

She turned around before the end of the tunnel and walked back along the path to Overdene Drive. As she did so, she crossed paths with a man who grabbed her and attempted to rape her.

The victim was able to break free and shout for help, causing the man to flee the scene in the direction of the tunnel. The victim is being supported by specialist officers. 

The man was described as white, in his late teens to late 30s, 5’ 9” to 5’ 10”, with dark eyes, short dark coloured hair and short dark stubble. He spoke with an eastern European accent and was wearing dark clothing.

Investigating Officer Detective Inspector Allana Hughes said:

“We are appealing for anyone who recognises this man, or anyone who witnessed the sexual assault or any suspicious behaviour at this location around the time of the incident, to make contact with us.

“We would particularly like to hear from people who were in Quantock Close, The Dingle or surrounding roads around this time or anyone who may have dashcam, ring doorbell or CCTV footage which might have captured the suspect fleeing the scene.

“We have increased our patrols in the area and have been conducting house-to-house enquiries alongside investigating any potential lines of enquiry.

“Please come forward to us with any information which you think could help our investigation, no matter how small.”

Information can be passed to Sussex Police online or by calling 101 quoting Operation Stockbridge.

Alternatively, people can get in touch anonymously via the independent charity Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111.

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