Drunk lorry driver in A14 drama

A DRUNK Polish lorry driver drove the wrong way on the A14 at Nacton into the path of an oncoming police officer.Ryszard Burek had taken a cocktail of whiskey, lager and strong painkillers before he drove his articulated lorry tractor unit while four times the drink drive limit.

A DRUNK Polish lorry driver drove the wrong way on the A14 at Nacton into the path of an oncoming police officer.

Ryszard Burek had taken a cocktail of whiskey, lager and strong painkillers before he drove his articulated lorry tractor unit while four times the drink drive limit.

The 48-year-old headed out of the Orwell Truck Stop and was heading towards Ipswich at about 4pm on Saturday, October 13 when off-duty officer Benjamin Coombes realised the lorry was headed straight for him.

Gareth Davies, prosecuting at South East Suffolk Magistrate's Court said: “The officer was travelling at 70mph and to his utter horror he was aware of an articulated lorry tractor unit travelling towards him the wrong way down the A14 in his lane.”

Pc Coombes, managed to get the lorry to stop just 20 metres from his car.

Mr Davies said Burek sat silent in his cab, swaying in his seat with a glazed expression in his eyes. He said Pc Coombes positioned his car to warn other motorists about the hazard then tried to get Burek out of his cab.

Most Read

Mr Davies said: “Pc Coombes did not speak Polish but realised this man's speech was slurred.

“He climbed into the cab and told him to get out. He grabbed his arm to stop him trying to drive the vehicle.”

The court heard that Burek was arrested and found to have 130 micrograms of alcohol in 100 millilitres of breath. The legal limit is 35 micrograms.

Mr Davies said other police officers and two AA recovery vehicles arrived at the scene but it was a voluntary member of the public who turned the lorry round and parked it safely on the verge.

Through an interpreter Burek said he had problems back home in Poland and had been drinking heavily because of that.

He'd then taken four painkillers he had been prescribed for sciatica knowing he was only to take three in a day and not with alcohol. He pleaded guilty to driving with excess alcohol and to dangerous driving.

Nigel Innes, mitigating, said his client had felt suicidal on Saturday because his partner had threatened to end their relationship and the drink and tablets had been his attempt at this. He said Burek could not remember getting into his lorry or driving and could not offer an explanation as to why he did but was very sorry.

Magistrates' committed Burek to Ipswich Crown Court to be sentenced because of the seriousness of the offence. Burek was remanded in custody until then as he is not a resident in England. A date for the crown court hearing is yet to be set.

n. Do you see the drama? Were you the member of the public who helped turn the lorry round? Contact The Evening Star news desk on 01473 324788 or email starnews@eveningstar.co.uk

Become a Supporter

This newspaper has been a central part of community life for many years. Our industry faces testing times, which is why we're asking for your support. Every contribution will help us continue to produce local journalism that makes a measurable difference to our community.

Become a Supporter