Van driver was four times over drink limit, court finds

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A man who crashed his van into a farmer’s field at Warton was more than four times over the alcohol limit when he was breathalised, a court heard.

David Ainsworth, who had an alcohol reading of 144 micrograms – the limit is 35 – said he had not been intoxicated at the time of the accident, but he had drunk alcohol after the crash.

Ainsworth, a 46-year-old worker in the steel fabrication industry, of Hodgson Avenue, Freckleton, denied driving with excess alcohol but was found guilty of the offence after a trial.

He was sentenced to do 200 hours unpaid work for the community, pay £200 costs with £60 victims’ surcharge and disqualified from driving for three years by Blackpool magistrates.

Presiding magistrate, Collette Woodhouse, said: “This was an extremely high reading. You were very fortunate not to injure yourself, other road users or pedestrians.”

Prosecutor, Pam Smith, said on July 3 in the early hours Ainsworth crashed his Seat Inca van on West End Lane, ending up in a field with damage to the vehicle’s front wing. At 7.35am a man made an attempt to pull the vehicle out but it was stuck so he gave Ainsworth a lift home.

Police tracked Ainsworth to his home, arrested him and he was breath tested at the police station.

John McLaren, defending, said his client, who had no previous convictions, had come under pressure and begun to drink more after the death of three close relatives and being made redundant. He and his family had recognised he had a problem and he was now getting help from a specialist organisation.

Peter Moran, for the probation service, told magistrates: “He still feels he was not drunk at the time of the accident. He says he drank alcohol afterwards.”