A 49-year-old drink driving trucker has been jailed for 12 weeks after he was spotted by a fellow lorry driver going the wrong way down a Peterborough parkway.
The man was three times the legal limit and driving at 5mph when the other lorry driver saw the lorry driving towards him in the pitch black. The second lorry driver ran alongside the vehicle and managed to open the cab door, applying the air brake to bring the HGV to a halt safely.
Prosecuting, Giles Beaumont told the court that having brought the lorry to a standstill, the witness smelled alcohol on the driver’s breath. A passing taxi driver, who also stopped, contacted police.
On arrival at Thorpe Wood Police Station the defendant gave a reading of 110mcg alcohol per 100ml breath. The legal limit is 35mcg.
Defending, Bal Dhaliwal explained that her client had pulled over in a “secluded spot” in Peterborough after driving down from Scotland that Saturday afternoon. She went on to add that his had not been planning to drive again until Monday, and had purchased food and alcohol.
Later in the evening, however, a security guard told him to move on, she continued. Not speaking English, the defendant was unable to explain that he was intoxicated and unable to drive. “The security guard would not take no for an answer”, she added.
Miss Dhaliwal also said that her client did not realise he was on a public road as it was so quiet.
Magistrate David Belcher said: “Dangerous driving is the most serious charge. There are many aggravating features in this case. It was a night, so it was harder to see. You were driving an HGV, you were three times over the drink drive limit, and you were putting people in the risk of injury.
“No drivers were expecting someone to be coming the wrong way down a dual carriageway – there is the risk of serious injury or even death.”
The trucker, who had been in the business for 20 years, had no previous convictions either in his native Romania nor the UK.
After he pleaded guilty to dangerous driving and drink driving, Mr Belcher sentenced the man to 12 weeks in prison and banned him from the roads for two years. He was also ordered to pay a £115 victim surcharge on his release, and must take an extended retest before regaining his license.
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