A DRINK driver sped down the M4 motorway the wrong way for four miles before crashing head-on into another car.

William Lawrence, 25, was more than twice the legal limit when he got into his Audi A3 in Newport after drinking spirits at a funeral.

He left Rhianne Tucker with a fractured vertebrae and was told by a judge it was lucky he hadn’t killed her or anyone else.

At Cardiff Crown Court, Richard Ace, prosecuting, played the astonishing footage of Lawrence’s “terrifying” driving which was captured by traffic cameras.

The defendant, who was banned from driving at the time and on licence, was told by Recorder John Philpotts: “You knew exactly what you did.


“Just before midnight on February 10 the police received an emergency call because no doubt numerous people had seen you driving the wrong way along the M4.

“You can see now from watching the CCTV what a terrifying act that was.

“You were driving at high speed and you drove into a head-on collision with another vehicle whose driver sustained serious injuries, including a fractured vertebrae.

“She was obviously badly shaken and your driving raised a terrifying risk of fatalities – people could have been killed, including you of course because you sustained serious injuries yourself.”

Lawrence suffered multiple broken bones in the crash.

Recorder Philpotts added: “This incident could have turned out far worse than it did but frankly the fact that it didn’t is no thanks to you.

“You were over twice the legal limit for alcohol and you were honest enough to tell the police you couldn’t remember very much about the incident.”

Lawrence, of Sunny Bank, St George, Bristol, pleaded guilty to causing serious injury by dangerous driving, driving while disqualified and driving without insurance.

Mr Ace said the defendant had 24 previous convictions for 50 offences, including two for dangerous driving and three for driving while disqualified.

Scott Bowen, representing Lawrence, said in mitigation that his client was “full of remorse”.

His barrister added: “He wishes to apologise to Miss Tucker.”

The court heard the victim has not yet been able to return to her job working with children with learning difficulties as a result of her injuries.

She also finds it hard to sleep and her father has had to take time off work to look after her.

Lawrence was jailed for three years and banned from driving for four years and six months.

He will have to sit an extended driving test before he can reapply for his licence.

Gwent Police were asked for a mugshot of the defendant but they said they did not have a custody photograph of him.