Boozy crash driver ‘took a risk knowing he was over the limit’

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

A motorist “took a chance” driving home from his girlfriend’s house despite knowing he was over the drink-drive limit, High Peak Magistrates’ Court heard.

Police were alerted by an ambulance crew after witnessing a car, driven by Christopher Watson, 46, crash twice on Low Leighton Road, New Mills, at about 6am on January 24.

Jennifer Fitzgerald, prosecuting, said: “The defendant had negotiated a left-hand bend and failed to straighten up and collided with a parked unattended vehicle, on the nearside, causing damage.

“Then he over compensated and travelled onto the opposite side of the carriageway, colliding almost head-on with a wall and causing a v-shaped dent.”

Ms Fitzgerald said the driver of the Mitsubishi Lancer was then seen to reverse and drive off.

However, the ambulance crew was able to pass on the registration details of the vehicle and officers soon traced the registered keeper, Watson, to his Bowden Crescent home in New Mills.

There was clear collision damage on the vehicle and Watson failed a roadside breath test, the court heard,

Later at the police station the intoxilyser machine was not working correctly so officers asked Watson to provide a urine sample. However he refused, saying he didn’t legally have to do that - only a breath sample or blood sample, Ms Fitzgerald added.

In interview Watson stated he had been at his girlfriend’s home in Marple and during the evening had been drinking. They had later argued and he had decided to go home. He told police he knew he shouldn’t have driven and could not remember the collisions or refusing to provide a urine sample.

Ian Baker, defending, said Watson was a HGV driver but had been off sick for some time.

“He thought he was over the limit, but as there would not be much traffic moving around at that time thought he would take the risk and try to get home knowing he was over the limit,” Mr Baker said. “It was an escalation of events. It was the wrong decision and was not thought through.”

Watson, who admitted failing to provide a specimen and failing to stop after an accident, was banned from driving for 20 months.

He must pay a £120 fine, £85 court costs and a £20 government surcharge.