Banned: Ludlow drink-driver fell asleep at wheel and drove into back of car

A drink-driver who fell asleep at the wheel of his van and struck the rear of a family’s car at least twice has been banned from the road for three years.

Shrewsbury Crown Court
Shrewsbury Crown Court

Christopher Hill, 35, of Hucklemarsh Road, Ludlow, drove into the back of a car being driven by a mother with two children near the town.

During the incident last year his van veered off the country lane before crashing into a hedge and coming to rest in a ditch.

Gary Cook, prosecuting, said: “At 7.45pm on April 22, 2020, a Mrs Watts was driving home with her two small children as passengers. She was travelling from Ludlow to Bitterley on a narrow rural road.

”The defendant was driving behind. He drove into the rear of her vehicle. She describes the impact has being a tremendous shock. She describes further impacts before she was able to pull off the road.

”That enabled the defendant to pass and carry on. A little further along he drove off the road, through a hedge at a field and the van’s front end ended up in a ditch. There was damage to Mrs Watts’ car which was subsequently written off.

”She approached the van while the defendant was still in the driver’s seat. The engine was still on and even though he was in the ditch he seemed to be trying to drive it out.

”Representing himself, Hill apologised for his actions at the sentencing hearing at Shrewsbury Crown Court on Wednesday.

The court heard that he was arrested and breathalysed at Hereford Police Station where he measured 53 microgrammes. The legal limit is 35.

In his police interview, he told officers he worked from 2am to 10am, had not slept and that he drank three or four cans of lager that afternoon.

Hill, a poultry worker, had previous convictions including for driving without due care in 2011 and drink driving in 2008.

The father-of-three told the court: “I went out because I had an argument with my girlfriend. I just wanted to clear my head.

”I am sorry for what I’ve done. I totally regret it,” he added.

At a previous hearing Hill admitted admitted dangerous driving, driving with excess alcohol and possession of cannabis relating to the latest offences.

Judge Anthony Lowe told him he was satisfied that the incident was not an act of ramming or road rage.

”This undoubtedly crosses the custody threshold. I have to think of the effect on your partner and children,” the judge added.

For dangerous driving Hill was jailed for 13 months, for driving with excess alcohol two months to run consecutively and for possession of cannabis one day jail to run concurrently all suspended for two years.

He was also banned from the road for three years, must carry out 100 hours unpaid work and must pay £415 costs.

He will be subject to an extended driving test following the ban.

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