Drunk taxi driver crashed minibus

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A Hayfield taxi driver who crashed his vehicle while drunk has been banned from the road for 22 months.

Sean Harwood was travelling along the A624 in Hayfield in his 16-seater minibus just before 3pm on August 15, High Peak Magistrates’ Court heard.

He indicated to turn onto New Mills Road but as he did so, he pulled across the path of a Citroen C1 travelling in the opposite direction, with the two vehicles colliding, prosecutor Jennifer Fitzgerald said.

Two people from the Citroen were taken to hospital, the court heard.

When police arrived, they spoke to Harwood who smelt of alcohol and was argumentative. He was arrested and breathalysed and gave a reading of 88, the legal limit is 35.

The 47-year-old, of New Mills Road, admitted drink driving.

Mr Oscroft, defending, said: “He wasn’t on duty that day, there were no passengers in the minibus.

“He never normally drinks before driving.

“He wasn’t argumentative with the police, he was frustrated at himself.

“He recalls he had two glasses of wine when he went to see his sister to discuss a number of family problems.

“He was particularly weighed down by depression and substantial debts.

“He is a self-employed taxi driver and was earning around £2,000 a month.

“He is now in an extremely precarious financial position.”

Chairman of the bench Bob Graham said: “It was a high reading.

“As a licensed taxi driver your standards should have been even higher than other drivers on the road.

“You have a real duty of care to your passengers.

“I accept there were no passengers in the vehicle at the time but the very fact you were drunk whilst driving a taxi we feel is serious.”

Harwood was fined £110 and ordered to pay £85 costs a £20 surcharge.