Get involved! Send your photos, video, news & views by texting WN NEWS to 80360 or e-mail us
Drunken van driver smashed into fence and hedge
4:10pm Tuesday 23rd October 2012 in News
Two women were slightly injured and damage was caused to a caravan site after a man doing maintenance work drove off in a drunken state.
Julian Heath’s van careered into the fence at the Coppice Leisure Park in Wichenford, near Worcester, before Margaret White, one of the residents, tried to reach in for the ignition key.
Heath grabbed her arm, bruising it, before another resident Lee Guest managed to get the key, Worcester Crown Court was told.
But 53-year-old Heath started the van with a spare key and drove flat out through the site despite an 8mph speed limit, said Paul Whitfield, prosecuting.
Mr Guest and a third resident, Stephen Hughes, had to get out of the way as Heath headed for the exit, but Mr Hughes’ wife Linda threw herself onto gravel to avoid the van, cutting both knees.
Heath smashed into another fence, then hit a fence post before driving onto a main road and hitting a hedge. He nearly crashed in Ombersley before police arrested him near Harvington.
He had a blood-alcohol count of 226mg compared with the legal limit of 80mg.
Heath, of Orchard Street, Mansfield, Nottinghamshire, pleaded guilty to dangerous driving, common assault and driving with excess alcohol.
Judge John Cavell gave him a nine-month jail sentence, suspended for two years, and a three-month overnight curfew. Heath was also banned for three years and must take an extended test before he can drive again.
He was ordered to pay his wife £100 compensation and £240 prosecution costs.
The judge said Heath could easily have killed someone on July 26. He said: “It’s difficult to know what possessed you to behave as you did.”
He ruled that immediate jail would have been too severe a punishment because Heath had serious health issues. Defence counsel Siobhan Collins said he was taking medication for cancer and back problems.
Miss Collins said Heath, who had been working on a caravan, had drunk no alcohol since, and was mortified and ashamed.