Gasman sacked, shamed and banned for driving home from 11-hour binge
A gas fitter who crashed has van on the way home from an 11-hour Boxing Day binge has been handed a suspended jail term.
Daniel Wells was almost four times the drink-driving limit when police roused him from sleep at home in Oxford Drive, Hadleigh.
The 35-year-old drank 11 pints in as many hours and decided to drive the short distance home in his Mercedes van, which he had parked nearby on Christmas Eve.
Wells admitted the offence at South East Suffolk Magistrates’ Court, in Ipswich, on Monday.
Prosecutor Simon Bravery said police found the damaged van 50 metres from Wells’ home at 11.30pm.
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“They attended and smelled alcohol on the defendant, who confirmed he had been drinking.
“He had gone out at lunchtime with his partner and friends.
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“His van was parked close by, where he had parked before going out on a previous occasion and walking home.
“On this occasion, he decided to drive the two minutes home.
“He misjudged a bend and clipped a signpost with the front nearside corner of the van.
“He parked seconds from home and walked the rest of the way.
“When his partner arrived shortly afterwards, he was asleep, but was later roused and was immediately cooperative upon finding police in his bedroom.”
A breathalyser test returned a reading of 131 microgrammes of alcohol per 100 millilitres of breath – the limit being 35mcg.
Howard Catherall, representing Wells, said he was dismissed from his job as a gas sales supervisor – a role he worked hard to achieve – but had since found a job “back where he started” as an engineer.
“He is a man of otherwise exemplary character, who is well liked and respected in the community,” added Mr Catherall.
“He is deeply remorseful.”
District Judge Celia Dawson gave Wells credit for his early admission and previous good character, but said the offence was worthy of a custodial sentence.
“It was a short distance home but – and this is a big but – you were hugely over the limit.
“Fortunately, no one was hurt, but you could have killed someone.
“I don’t understand how you thought you could still drive.”
Wells received an eight-week sentence, suspended for a year, and a 32-month driving ban. He must also complete 180 hours of unpaid work and pay court costs.