Two lorry drivers jailed after driving the wrong way on A19 while over the limit

Two HGV drivers have been jailed after driving whilst under the influence of alcohol into oncoming traffic on the A19.

Tuesday, 28th July 2020, 4:46 pm
Updated Tuesday, 28th July 2020, 4:50 pm
Police and one of the lorries at the scene of Sunday night's incident. Picture courtesy of David Tarran.
Police and one of the lorries at the scene of Sunday night's incident. Picture courtesy of David Tarran.

At a hearing last month, Arunas Valacka, 44, from Lithuania, and Andrei Vasilachi, 59, of no fixed address, both admitted dangerous driving and driving while under the influence of alcohol.

They were sentenced to 12 months in prison today (Tuesday, July 28).

Police say some motorists took evasive action to avoid a collision.

The incident caused chaos on the A19 and motorists suffered tailbacks lasting more than two hours after the lorries drove southbound on the northbound carriageway at around 9pm.

Acting Inspector Steve Clyburn, from the Cleveland and Durham Specialist Operations Unit, said: “These two men put countless lives at risk on the evening that they got behind the wheel after consuming alcohol.

"Not only did they drive whilst drunk, because of this they drove along the A19 into oncoming traffic. A number of drivers had to take evasive action to avoid a collision, which could have easily resulted in serious injury or worse.

“I welcome the sentences given to these drivers. They now have the time to reflect on their actions whilst behind bars, it is only sheer luck which has saved them, and other innocent road users, from potentially losing their lives.”

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