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Thursday, 24 April 2014

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Cumbrian delivery van driver drank wine to ease hangover

A supermarket delivery driver who pulled over for a swig of wine and then got stuck in a ditch has been banned from the roads.

Karl Andrew Straughton, 24, of Riverside, Great Clifton near Workington, was making a delivery for Asda on July 19 when he started to feel hungover.

He pulled over for a break and “foolishly” had a drink of wine, Carlisle magistrates heard.

Pulling away, he misjudged the manoeuvre and crashed the Mercedes Sprinter van into a ditch at Newton Arlosh Village.

He was found to be over the drink-drive alcohol limit.

Helen Wallace, defending, said: “On the night before this he was drinking heavily with a friend who had just come back from the Falklands as a serving officer in the RAF.

“It is Straughton’s ambition to join the RAF and they had spent the night drinking vodka and lemonade.

“In the morning his father had given him a lift to work.

“Towards the end of the day he was asked to do a particular delivery and at the time didn’t realise he was still over the limit.

“He decided to pull over and at that point he very foolishly decided to take a swig of wine out of a bottle.

“He tried to pull off, misjudged the manoeuvre and the van got stuck in a ditch.”

The court also heard from Pam Ward, prosecuting, that police had arrived to find the Asda van being towed away.

She added that Straughton has been “aggressive” towards police officers when taken into custody.

He had subsequently apologised to the officers, the court heard.

She added that he knew he would lose his job at Asda but that he was also concerned it could jeopardise his plans to join the RAF.

However, the court heard that the admissions officers have agreed to defer his application until his driving ban has expired.

The court heard that Straughton had been suffering from “severe depression” after his parents split up and had turned to drink several years ago to cope with it.

He was disqualified from driving for 20 months, ordered to pay a £170 fine, a victim surcharge of £15 and £85 costs.

He was also ordered to attend a drink-drivers rehabilitation course.

The court heard that he had pleaded guilty at the first opportunity, had no previous court convictions and was “normally very responsible”.

The chairman of the bench said that hopefully this would be a rude awakening for him.

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