Drink-driver escapes jail after driving the WRONG WAY around city centre for three miles

A cannabis-smoking drink-driver terrified motorists when he drove the wrong way into oncoming traffic for three miles.

John Rixon, 31, was nearly twice over the drink-drive limit when he got behind the wheel to drive the 25 miles home from his friend's house.

And he caused chaos when he drunkenly drove the wrong way around Bristol's complex roundabout system for 15 minutes at midnight.

CCTV alerted police after Rixon, in his silver Audi, ignored warnings from other motorists and drove on until he found himself in a dead end blocked by bollards.

Rixon then reversed and drove back onto the roundabout system - still on the wrong side of the road.

The terrifying 15 minutes of mayhem ended when he crashed into a taxi driver and a woman motorist as he went the wrong way round a roundabout.

Rixon abandoned his car and tried to flee but was rugby-tackled to the ground by a policeman.

Tests found he had 62 mgs of alcohol in 100 mls of breath. The limit is 35.

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Rixon, from Trowbridge, Wiltshire, pleaded guilty to dangerous driving and drink-driving.

He escaped prison with a suspended sentence when a judge heard he was a man of good character with not even a parking ticket to his name.

Richard Smith QC, sitting at Bristol Crown Court, sentenced him to 12 months behind bars suspended for two years.

He told Rixon: "It was a matter of good fortune that you did not cause greater damage or greater injury.

"A large part of the driving was the wrong way. It was a very bad piece of driving.

"However, you are a man of good character, you have no previous convictions, you have always been employed and you have very good qualities.

"It was an unpleasant episode, completely out of character - a catastrophic error."

David Scutt, defending, said: "He is almost 32. He has never been in trouble and tells me he has never even had a parking ticket.

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"It was wholly out of character. This is a well-educated man and a hard-working man."

Mr Scutt said his remorseful client made a "catastrophic error" to drive after visiting a friend in June.

He added that Rixon was endeavouring to tackle alcohol addiction.

Rixon was banned from driving for three years and ordered to pass an extended driving test before returning to the road.

He was also made the subject of 12 months' supervision and told to take an impaired drivers' course.

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