Lorry driver locked up
A PARALYTIC lorry driver who drove the wrong way down the A14 carriageway into the path of an oncoming police officer has been jailed.Former prison warden Ruszard Burek was almost four times over the legal drink drive limit after consuming a cocktail of whisky, beer and strong painkillers at the Orwell Truck Stop.
A PARALYTIC lorry driver who drove the wrong way down the A14 carriageway into the path of an oncoming police officer has been jailed.
Former prison warden Ruszard Burek was almost four times over the legal drink drive limit after consuming a cocktail of whisky, beer and strong painkillers at the Orwell Truck Stop.
The 48-year-old then got into his articulated lorry and drove onto the slip road and onto the inside lane of the A14 facing the flow of traffic. Police received seven calls from distressed motorists who were forced to swerve to safety.
Ipswich Crown Court heard that off-duty police officer Benjamin Coombes was “terrified” when he saw the lorry travelling head on towards him.
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Mark Bursell, prosecuting, said PC Coombes was driving at 70 miles per hour on the inside lane at about 3.40pm on Saturday, October 13 when he saw the lorry.
Mr Bursell said: “The officer was very concerned but the lorry fortunately stopped about 30 to 40 metres onto the carriageway.”
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He said the officer prevented a head-on collision by putting his car in front of the lorry with its hazard lights on.
He then tried to persuade the lorry driver to reverse back up the slip-road to the truck stop but then realised Burek did not speak English and was obviously drunk.
Mr Bursell said Burek, of Katowice, Pezenwiosnie, Poland then caused a further risk by getting out of his cab and stumbling into the outside lane.
“The officer pulled him to safety onto the verge and a member of the public managed to turn the lorry round,” he added.
Police tests revealed Burek had 130 micrograms of alcohol in 100 millilitres of breath. The legal limit is 35 micrograms.
The court heard that apart from one speeding offence in Holland Burek had been driving lorries long distance without offending for 25 years.
On the day of the incident he had discussed problems with his Polish girlfriend, had drunk heavily and had taken four painkillers for his sciatica when he knew he was only to have one in a day.
Burek pleaded guilty to dangerous driving and to drinking with excess alcohol.
Neil Macaulay, mitigating, said his client could not explain why he got into the lorry or where he was going. He said Burek was so drunk he could not even remember the incident.
Mr Macaulay said: “He acknowledges the situation could have had tragic consequences. It could have easily been much worse but fortunately it wasn't.
“He apologises for his behaviour and indeed has asked me to express his genuine and deep remorse. It was not his intention to drive and he was not due to drive out until the Monday. He is deeply shameful. He worked for 10 years in Poland as a prison warden and cannot believe he is now himself in prison.”
Judge Peter Thompson said: “You were almost four times over the legal limit and you drove the wrong way down one of the fastest roads in this county. Even if you had driven just a few yards further a head-on collision would have been very likely. You did not know what you were doing and the reading was the highest I have seen, short of someone being unconscious.”
Burek was jailed for a total of 12 months and disqualified from driving in the UK for two years. Judge Thompson recommended that on release from prison Burek be deported to Poland.