Drunk drove lorry wrong way on M6
A lorry driver who drove the wrong way along the motorway drunk on home-made plum brandy and beer has been jailed after admitting his driving was "dangerous to the max".
Hungarian national Pal Korbely drove south on the northbound carriageway of the M6 for 10 miles on the evening of July 7 with his headlights off, narrowly avoiding a number of head-on collisions. Birmingham Crown Court heard he only stopped when three other lorries formed a barrier across the road to block his path.
CCTV footage of his driving shows other motorists, including cars, lorries and a petrol tanker, swerving to avoid him.
Jailing the 50-year-old father for eight months, Judge Paul Farrer QC said: "It is little more than good fortune that nobody was killed or seriously injured."
Phillip Bradley, prosecuting, said Korbely told police he had spent the afternoon drinking beer and brandy which was 51% proof and watching the Grand Prix with two other drivers at Hilton Park service station in Staffordshire.
The prosecutor said he had been intending to spend the night at the services before resuming his delivery commitments the following day. He said: "He had no recollection of driving...he said (in police interviews) that his driving was dangerous to the max and he asked whether or not he had killed anyone."
Korbely, who has been a heavy goods vehicle driver for 30 years, was found to have 81mg of alcohol in 100ml of breath when he was breathalysed by the police - more than twice the legal limit for driving.
He was sentenced to eight months' imprisonment for dangerous driving and three months for driving with excess alcohol, to run concurrently. He had admitted both charges at Birmingham Magistrates' Court on July 9.
The judge, who also banned him from driving for three years, said: "You described your driving as dangerous to the max and you were right. This was a prolonged course of dangerous driving which presented danger to innocent motorists at the highest level.
"The public have reason to be grateful for the actions of the three lorry drivers whose fast thinking and bravery caused you to stop. And Mr Korbely, you have cause to be grateful to them as well, because but for that which they did your position could be a lot worse."