COURT: Three-times limit drink-driver ‘lucky not to have killed or injured somebody’

High Peak Magistrates Court, Buxton.
High Peak Magistrates Court, Buxton.

A drunk driver from Buxton was ‘lucky not to have killed or injured somebody’ after being caught driving while three times the legal alcohol limit.

High Peak Magistrates’ Court heard on Monday how a member of the public had called police after seeing a car being driven erratically, colliding with a kerb and mounting a pavement.

John Cooper, prosecuting, said the Vauxhall Vectra was seen to drive along Harpur Hill Road just before 6am on October 25.

The pedestrian called police again after seeing the damaged car at St James’ Court.

Alex Charles Stafford, 36, of St James Court, was later found by police asleep in the driver’s seat.

“He was apparently asleep in the car with the keys in the ignition and the engine running,” said Mr Cooper.

Stafford failed a roadside breath test, and later at the police station provided a reading of 109 in breath - more than three times the legal limit of 35.

When interviewed, Stafford said he had been drinking at a friend’s house but had left following an argument.

He told police he was only vaguely aware of having driven the vehicle and could not recall what route he had taken.

James Riley, defending, said on the night in question Stafford had not intended to drive, but circumstances had changed and he had felt it better to leave a “volatile situation”.

The court heard Stafford had been drinking with a number of friends, but there had been a verbal argument following the arrival of another person.

Pleading guilty to a charge of drink-driving, Stafford was sentenced to a 12-month community order with 80 hours’ unpaid work and a rehabilitation activity requirement.

Magistrate Richard Lombers told him: “You had consumed a substantial amount of alcohol, were three times the limit, and quite clearly there was evidence of bad driving.

“You are lucky you actually fell asleep before you killed somebody else or injured somebody.”

Stafford was also banned from the road for 26 months, but was given the option of reducing the ban by completing a drink-driver rehabilitation course.

He must pay £85 prosecution costs, a £60 victim surcharge and a £150 criminal court charge.