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Driver banned after plunge

PUBLISHED: 09:37 22 August 2002 | UPDATED: 12:31 03 March 2010

A DRINK driver who caused chaos when his car plunged down an embankment onto a railway line has been banned from driving for three and a half years.

Ian Conway, 30, of Nicholls Grove, Lawford, was twice the drink drive limit when he crashed his Mazda on the A137 Harwich Road at Ardleigh, Colchester Magistrates' Court heard yesterday.

A DRINK driver who caused chaos when his car plunged down an embankment onto a railway line has been banned from driving for three and a half years.

Ian Conway, 30, of Nicholls Grove, Lawford, was twice the drink drive limit when he crashed his Mazda on the A137 Harwich Road at Ardleigh, Colchester Magistrates' Court heard yesterday.

Conway, who was also given 100 hours of community service, had no recollection of the accident, which disrupted the Norwich to London rail service and left the road closed for five hours.

When asked by magistrates if he had any comment on the accident, he said: "Just to say sorry for what I done and the trouble that it caused."

Sentencing, chairman of the bench, Mrs Bonnie Hill said: "This was an extremely serious offence which could have had far more serious implications than it did. It was not your first offence and our sentence today has reflected this fact."

He was given a community punishment and rehabilitation order for 12 months, and will have to undergo a drink impaired drivers' scheme.

Conway also chose to carry out an optional drink drivers rehabilitation scheme, costing £150. If he completes the course, his driving ban will be reduced by 10 months.

At an earlier hearing, Conway admitted a charge of drink-driving.

Colchester magistrates heard how on July 26, he appeared to have lost control of the vehicle approaching a right hand bend. He then left the road on the near side, and caused damage to a water station control box and electricity supply box.

The car plummeted down the embankment, coming to a rest on its side on the mainline railway.

When police found Conway, his speech was "slurred and he smelt of alcohol".

The police helicopter was then scrambled because Conway claimed to be the car's passenger.

He was taken to Clacton police station, where he was tested for alcohol and registered 72 micrograms of alcohol in 100 millilitres of breath. The legal limit is 35.

Conway was also told that he would have to pay court costs of £55.

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