Man downed 2 bottles of vodka before high-speed drive towards Kidderminster (From Kidderminster Shuttle)
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Man downed 2 bottles of vodka before high-speed drive towards Kidderminster
6:20am Tuesday 24th September 2013 in News
A MAN who downed two bottles of vodka before setting off on a treacherous high-speed drive towards Kidderminster is behind bars.
Sonal Gahlla tested at five times the legal limit more than two hours after he smashed into another car head on as he raced the wrong way around a roundabout between Hagley and Kidderminster.
Self-confessed alcoholic Gahlla, 33, of Kinver Drive, Hagley, pleaded guilty at Worcester Crown Court yesterday to dangerous driving and driving with excess alcohol.
Judge Michael Cullum told him it was "something of a miracle" that nobody had been seriously hurt.” He added: “You were literally an accident waiting to happen.
"You had been driving at significant speed erratically in the period leading up to the accident.
"It must have been terrifying for your victim to meet you head on on a roundabout unexpectedly, with no choice but to take the crash."
He sentenced Gahlla to 14 months in prison and disqualified him from driving for three years.
The court heard that at shortly after 1.30pm on June 1, Gahlla had been driving along the A491 Stourbridge Road and the A456 Kidderminster Road, Hagley, heading towards Kidderminster.
He was travelling at high speed and performed several dangerous manoeuvres, including overtaking inappropriately and at one point hitting the kerb, forcing a number of other motorists - including one carrying a young child - to swerve out of his path.
Prosecutor Paul Whitfield said Gahlla had gone the wrong way around island along the A456, which was when he crashed head on into a car which was travelling in the correct direction.
The female driver suffered a number of bruises to her face and body and had pain in her back but was able to get out of her damaged car by herself.
Mr Whitfield added, however, Gahlla had to be helped out by passers-by, who could see he was drunk.
He was tested by police around two hours later and they found 400ml of alcohol per 80mg of blood - exactly five times the legal limit - and two empty vodka bottles were found in his car.
The court heard that, in 2009, he was sentenced for another offence of driving while under the influence of excess alcohol.
Defending, Julia Powell said father-of-one Gahlla had been suffering from depression and had turned to alcohol.
"He thought he knew better than to do something like this and he thought next could handle it," she said.
"He has thought long and hard to try to remember what happened to make him drink such a significant amount of alcohol but he can't. He is devastated that he cannot bring any further facts to the court.
"He accepts what he did was absolutely appalling, abhorrent. He now attends Alcoholics Anonymous meetings every day.”