Crash driver escaped from burning car

AS flames engulfed his Range Rover, Nicky Flewitt escaped through the roof and fled the scene of the early-morning crash he had caused.

AS flames engulfed his Range Rover, Nicky Flewitt escaped through the roof and fled the scene of the early-morning crash he had caused.

But while he is today disqualified from driving, the 25-year-old, of Ireland Road, Ipswich could not be prosecuted for drink-driving, even after a positive breath test.

Flewitt was only accused of driving without due care and attention, a charge the farrier admitted when he appeared at magistrates' court in Ipswich.

The court heard at one stage it was feared Flewitt was still in his blazing vehicle as the fire raged beside the A14 near Claydon.

Sentencing Flewitt, District Judge David Cooper said: “He's been terribly lucky in a way. He's not been charged with failing to stop and failing to report (an accident) and although he was over the limit, somehow the blood sample got damaged.”

The court had previously heard Flewitt panicked when getting out of the roof of the Range Rover and had run off through bushes.

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However, Judge Cooper was not convinced by this explanation, calling Flewitt's actions “deeply irresponsible” and suggesting he fled because he had been drinking and driving.

He said: “I don't think it's unreasonable to read between the lines at all. It's lamentable, the whole thing - absolutely lamentable.”

Earlier, prosecutor Lesla Small said the accident occurred at 3.40am on October 25 last year, around half-a-mile from the slip road to Asda.

A Tesco lorry driver heard a loud bang and saw sparks coming from the rear of his vehicle. When police arrived they found Flewitt's Range Rover in flames and a large amount of debris on the road.

Ms Small said fire crews and police thought the driver might be still inside as he was nowhere to be seen.

Flewitt returned to the crash site at 6am when a friend gave him a lift. He told officers he was not sure if he had fallen asleep at the wheel coming back from Newmarket. The next thing he recalled was hearing an “almighty bang” as he hit the back of the lorry.

When the Range Rover came to a halt on the embankment Flewitt could see flames, and smoke was coming into the vehicle.

Initially he was trapped as the central locking was not working, so he clambered through the roof, before running off.

A breath test showed he had 39microgrammes of alcohol in 100 millilitres of breath. The legal limit is 35mcgs, although 39mcgs would only be enough for a caution, not a prosecution.

A subsequent blood test was invalid as the sample became damaged.

Flewitt's solicitor David Stewart said: “He was very nearly burned alive. He could easily have died.”

Flewitt was banned from driving for 56 days and given a �500 fine. He must also pay �46 costs and a �15 victim surcharge.