A DRINK driver who could barely stand when arrested by police has been spared jail after causing a horror crash on the A32 near Wickham.

Stephen Jones hung his head in shame as a video of him slamming into 42-year-old motorcyclist Scott Lemon was played to Portsmouth Crown Court on Friday afternoon.

The 58-year-old, who appeared in a white shirt and black trousers, was just under four times the legal limit when tested by police.

Mr Lemon, from Shirrell Heath, suffered horrific injuries from the ordeal, which left him needing multiple surgeries to repair damage to his knee and shin.

Speaking to the Chronicle in May, he said he felt 'incredibly lucky' not to have lost his leg.

The court heard that on Saturday, April 30, Jones, of Mill Road, Emsworth, decided to get behind the wheel of his white Peugeot Partner after a solo boozing session at a nearby pub.

A witness statement read out by prosecutor Oliver Kelham told of how Jones could be seen weaving across both carriageways, clipping two cars before eventually crashing head on into Mr Lemon, who was travelling in the opposite direction at the time.

Judge David Melville QC could be heard wincing as he watched the shocking moment Jones struck the father of two, sending him 'flying through the air'.

The two-minute clip also showed other horrified road users frantically swerving to dodge Jones as he veered wildly.

Hampshire Chronicle: A still from footage taken by another driver of a collision between a van driver and a motorcyclist on the A32 near Wickham on April 30A still from footage taken by another driver of a collision between a van driver and a motorcyclist on the A32 near Wickham on April 30

Officers who attended the scene said Jones was staggering and slurring his words after he stepped out of the vehicle. He was so drunk that he fell over while walking to the police car and had to lean on the door for stability.

Tests revealed he had 120 microgrammes of alcohol in 100 millilitres of breath - almost four times the limit.

A separate statement read on behalf of Mr Lemon told of how he is still walking on crutches more than two months on from the crash.

He said: "I have been robbed of my normal life. I'm worried for my family as I'm self employed and I haven't been able to work because of my injuries. I can't even play with my kids. When I think about the crash I feel incredibly angry as the selfishness of one person has had such a massive impact."

READ MORE: Motorcyclist from Hampshire sent flying '20 metres' through the air after being hit by swerving van on A32 near Wickham

Defending Jones, Mark Kessler said he had told police he was "disgusted" with himself during questioning and struggled to remember what had happened.

He claimed to have made attempts through officers to try and find out the extent of Mr Lemon's injuries, and said he was "shocked" to find out how badly the motorcyclist had been hurt.

Mr Kressler said Jones had become "socially isolated" and developed a chronic alcohol issue for which he is already seeking help. Since the incident, he says Jones has already sought counselling off his own back and has suffered just one relapse.

Sentencing Jones, Judge Melville said: "It is an appalling film to watch and the driving you displayed is quite extraordinary. The final event in which you crash into Mr Lemon, causing him to come off his bike, would cause anyone's heart to stop.

"He will suffer for a long time from the injuries he has sustained. It may take as long as two years for him to recover, if he fully recovers at all."

Judge Melville said he had taken into account several positive character references submitted on behalf of Jones, alongside his limited record of previous offending.

"Despite this awful incident, prison can just about be avoided," he added.

Jones was sentenced to 12 months in prison suspended for two years for dangerous driving and drink driving. He was also ordered to pay costs of £420 by October 8 and complete 250 hours of unpaid work.

A driving ban of two years was enforced by the court and he will have to take an extended test if he wants to regain his licence.

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Kimberley Barber