Businessman drove while high on drugs

A BUSINESSMAN who drove into an oncoming car in an Ipswich street while high on drugs cried with relief after escaping a driving ban. Timothy Pearson, of Adastral Close, Felixstowe, appeared for sentencing at South East Suffolk Magistrates' Court after he pleaded guilty to driving while unfit through drugs.

A BUSINESSMAN who drove into an oncoming car in an Ipswich street while high on drugs cried with relief after escaping a driving ban.

Timothy Pearson, of Adastral Close, Felixstowe, appeared for sentencing at South East Suffolk Magistrates' Court after he pleaded guilty to driving while unfit through drugs.

And he warned others to check the labels on any drugs they took before getting behind the wheel.

The court heard that Pearson took strong prescribed tranquillisers before a dental appointment on December 12 2003 because he was scared of going to the dentists.

Prosecuting solicitor Patricia Doggett told the court Pearson was driving his van at about 12.50pm along Foxhall Road, Ipswich, when he hit bollards in the middle of the road. Moments later he drove into the path of a blue Peugeot, hitting the car on the nearside but did not stop after the accident.

Miss Doggett told South East Suffolk magistrates on Thursday that Pearson burst a tyre in the accident and was trying to fix it at the junction of Bell Lane and Penzance Road when police arrived.

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She read out a statement provided by Pc Richard Wright of Suffolk police.

It said: "His speech was slurred, he was unsteady on his feet. He could not remember having an accident and he stared at me with a completely vacant look."

The court heard that Pearson had taken Lorazepam which was prescribed by his doctor.

Pearson, 45, a mobile toasted sandwich caterer and head of a cleaning company told the court he was a careful driver.

Defence solicitor Gareth Davies told magistrates there were special reasons why his client should not be banned for driving.

He told the court that Pearson had never had a bad reaction to the drug in the past and despite passing a breathalyser test and a blood test that looked for illegal drugs he co-operated with police and told them why he thought his driving was incompetent.

Giving evidence Pearson said: "I hadn't been affected before, I am a careful driver I have a clean licence.

"There's no way in the world I would have driven had I been aware of any danger."

Pearson was given an absolute discharge and ordered to pay costs of £70.

Pearson broke down when he heard the sentence. Speaking afterwards he said: "It has been 13 months that I have had to live with this. My livelihood depends on driving, I do a specialised job and I would have gone bankrupt if I had been banned.

"I would say to everyone check the label on medication before you drive."

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